The Indiana State Department of Health says the positivity rate of COVID-19 has surged to 10.8% last week, a dramatic climb from the 2% positivity rate recorded at the end of July. ISDH Commissioner Dr. Kris Box says 98% of new cases are of the Delta variant.
She says “well over” 200,000 tests have been administered this week. Box at some testing locations, health officials are seeing positivity rates close to 20%.
Box says nearly 2,200 Hoosiers are currently hospitalized with COVID. While below the peak of 3,400 patients, she says hospitals are straining, especially their intensive care units.
“And we’ve seen the percentage of available ICU beds fall again, which impacts every Hoosier in need of critical medical care,” said Box.
She says some hospitals in four of the 10 emergency preparedness districts across the state are utilizing more than 100% of their ICU beds. While not naming specific hospitals, Box says those districts are in northern, northeastern, central, and southeastern portions of Indiana.
In addition to full ICU’s, some hospitals have begun to limit elective surgeries.
“We have begun seeing hospitals cancel or postpone some non-emergent procedures again to ensure that they have the capacity for the severely ill or injured,” said Box. “I have incredible empathy for Hoosiers all over the state who are having their health care procedures delayed or otherwise impacted because of the hospital capacity issues.”
During Friday’s news conference, ISDH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver illustrated the impact non-vaccinated Hoosiers is having on the healthcare system. She says of approximately 1,300 recently admitted patients for COVID, only seven were fully vaccinated.
“These trends also are holding true for individuals admitted to intensive care units,” said Weaver. “Your odds of needing the ICU due to COVID-19 are much greater if you were not vaccinated than if you are fully vaccinated.”
She says of 205 ICU admission during the week of August 15-21, one patient was fully vaccinated. The remaining 204 had not.
Box says while she is having constant discussions with Governor Eric Holcomb about whether the state should institute a mask mandate, she encourages mask use whenever possible.
“Whether we have a masked mandate in place or not, the bottom line is masking is the mitigation measure that will help to decrease transmission of this Delta variant until we get out of this surge,” said Box. “I’m not talking about necessarily for the entire rest of the fall, or even into 2022. But for right now, we have to decrease the transmission in the state of Indiana and masking and getting vaccinated are the main ways we’re going to do that.”