National Guard Called for Nursing Home Care
With a spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases and with most new coronavirus-related deaths among the elderly population, the state has announced enhanced plans to battle the virus among the most vulnerable patients.
During a news conference Wednesday, Indiana State Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver said members of the Indiana National Guard will supplement staff at long-term care facilities.
Weaver says guard members will be deployed to “assist with testing and reporting to allow existing facility staff to focus on patient care.”
Of the 3,790 deaths in Indiana from the disease, Weaver says more than 2,200 have been residents of LTCs, which accounts for 58% of the state’s deaths.
“We want to save those whose lives and in doing so we can also protect our hospital capacity,” said Weaver.
Weaver says the state currently has 1,484 Hoosiers hospitalized with cases or symptoms of COVID-19, which is twice as many Indiana residents hospitalized than in late June.
“We continue to see more than 100 people a day being admitted with symptoms of COVID,” said Weaver.
The guard will be trained to assist with the screening of employees and simple infection control practices.
Weaver says the work will begin on November 1 and will focus on facilities that are experiencing positive cases. Eventually, guard members will be used in all 535 long term care facilities in the state.
In addition to the National Guard, the state will be hiring retired healthcare workers to assist where needed.
As part of the action plan, the state will be increasing the distribution of personal protective equipment. Weaver says the state will sending 2 million N-95 masks to all LTCs in the state. It will also be providing 400,000 face shields and 680,000 gowns.
“This is our largest distribution of up to date. Earlier in the pandemic, we have had provided nearly 1 million PPE items to 278 long term care facilities. So, this is an expansion of our ongoing efforts,” said Weaver.
Even with the recent spike, Governor Eric Holcomb remains steadfast in not returning the state to a lower level of the state’s Back on Track reopening plan or taking a tougher stand on people not wearing masks.
“Stage five, we’re proving it. Whether it’s making cars or going to a Colts game or going to school, there are safe ways to be in stage five,” said Holcomb. “And we’re proven that all over the state of Indiana.”
View the full press briefing in the video below:
User: Governor Eric Holcomb To: link