Bloomington health officials warned that COVID-19-related hospitalizations are on the rise again and urged residents to take precautions, including getting vaccinated and challenged, wearing masks indoors in public places and staying home if symptomatic.
“We’re in a new wave right now,” Brian Shockney, president of Indiana Health’s South Central Region, which includes Bloomington.
The south-central region of the health system had 31 patients with COVID in hospital as of Friday, and Shockney said the extra patients combined with nationwide labor restrictions present a challenge for health professionals.
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“Hospitals are once again struggling to find beds for inpatients,” he said. “It’s hard to provide care to everyone who needs it.”
The number of new COVID-19 infections in Monroe County has remained below 50 every day but two for the past month, according to the Indiana State Health Department dashboard, but health officials said the true number is likely to be much higher. Most people now get their infection confirmed through home tests, the results of which are not reported to local or state officials and therefore are not reflected in the official count.
Health officials said other numbers, including rising hospital admissions, tell the story. In addition, the number of Bloomington municipality employees who became infected rose for the fourth month in a row in July.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified Monroe and Brown counties as “average,” meaning people at high risk for serious illness should talk to their health care providers about taking precautions, such as wearing a mask. . All other counties bordering Monroe are classified as “high,” meaning people must wear masks indoors in public.
Shockney also said the vaccination status of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has been reversed. For much of the time when vaccines were available, the vast majority of people who were hospitalized and died from the disease were unvaccinated. However, on Friday, IU Health presented an image showing that 20 of the 31 patients in the hospital had been vaccinated. In addition, half of the six people in the ICU were vaccinated, as were both patients on a ventilator.
Both Schockney and Dr. However, Indiana University chief health officer Aaron Carroll stressed that vaccines remain effective in preventing serious illness and urged people to get their injections, including boosters.
In the area code 47401, according to the ISDH, almost 70% of the inhabitants are fully vaccinated.
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Shockney said most people who are hospitalized with COVID have underlying conditions. And Carroll said in previous spikes that his colleagues with infectious diseases treated many people in the hospital because they had COVID-19, while the bulk of the medical staff now treats people for a variety of conditions, and those patients also happen to test positive for COVID-19. 19.
Overall, Carroll said, recent infections have caused a relatively low rate of serious illness and death. COVID-19 used to kill millions, he said, and vaccines have helped make it a disease that doesn’t seriously affect most people.
“This is a big win, even if the number of cases remains higher than we would like,” he said.
Carroll also urged people to stay home if they have cold or flu symptoms, regardless of whether they have a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Local health and government officials held a news conference Friday as they want people to stay alert as schools are back in full swing and Indiana University students are about to return to the community. IU classes start on August 22.