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Spike in COVID-19 cases, hospitalization a concern in Richmond

Posted at 12:00 AM, Oct 29, 2020

RICHMOND — Officials with Reid Health in Richmond are concerned about what they called a "dramatic rise" in positive coronavirus cases and a jump in hospitalizations that if the trend continues could quickly overwhelm bed capacity.

According to a report released by Reid Health, the number of hospitalizations with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases rose to 61 on Monday, which is only three below the highest number reported in Wayne County in late April/early May.

"Other health systems in Indiana are already coping with this wave," Dr. Thomas Huth, vice president of medical affairs at Reid Health, said. "Many of these patients are among our most vulnerable populations. This is extremely concerning."

Officials with Reid Health said they are concerned the health system will have to curtail other necessary health services to provide capacity for an increased caseload.

"The proven precautions of social distancing and masking are vitally important right now," Huth said.

Huth also said pandemic fatigue has led to people growing lax or ignoring mandates designed to prevent a surge from reoccurring.

"Anyone, even those who aren't as at risk of severe illness, need to act as if they are to protect the more vulnerable, older population around them," Huth said.

Reid Health is tightening visitor restrictions immediately in response. Those guidelines include a limit of one vistior per non-COVID inpatient per day, no visitor for COVID patients except in end-of-life and other select situations. There will also be strict enforcement of masking and social distancing for staff and visitors.

"We realize families want to see their loved one in person, but we also know the risks of COVID-19 to our patients, staff and their families," Huth said.