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IU Health: We're prepared for additional COVID-19 patients

Health system gives update on ICU beds available
IU Health Methodist tents
Posted at 6:57 PM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 18:57:06-05

INDIANAPOLIS — You may have seen tents set up outside of IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and wondered what they’re being used for.

A recent social media post on the Indianapolis Medics, an IAFF Local 416 District’s Facebook page had some people questioning the number of available intensive care unit beds and if patients were being treated in those tents.

IU Health administrators say the tents were set up for the pandemic back in April. They have not been used yet, but they can be if cases continue to increase. They say there's been a double-digit increase in the number of COIVD patients requiring hospitalization this week.

“It's gone up basically from Tuesday where we were sitting at around 55 or 60 to 100 today,” said Elizabeth Linden, Chief Nursing Officer for IU Health Methodist and University Hospitals. “We are not at 100% capacity with our ICU level, but we are getting tight.”

A post from the Indy Medics Facebook page this morning that got hundreds of shares said ICU beds at IU Health were full and the hospital was getting ready to use the tents. That post has since been deleted as IU Health says it is inaccurate.

“Everything is perspective. For example, this morning when you walked into the hospital most of the ICU beds were physically full, but that's because we hadn't moved the patients who were downgrading to a different level of care, surgeries hadn't come in, so it's really a moving target,” said Linden.

If they do end up being needed, the tents can be used in a variety of ways. “We could use them as a place to triage patients so they would come in through the tents, we could use them to house patients, we can use them if we need to for ICU level care because they are negative airflow and they have the capabilities to care for patients,” said Linden.

She’s urging people to keep wearing a mask and avoiding gatherings so it doesn’t get to that point.

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