With COVID-19 cases once again on the rise, Reid Health has run out of space for patients and declared the situation an emergency on Sunday.

Reid had paused all elective inpatient surgeries early last week and Henry Community Health in New Castle said it was deciding on a daily basis whether it will be able to do them. Officials at both are asking people who have not been vaccinated against the virus to do so.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have jumped to their highest level in 11 months, according to figures released last Wednesday by the Indiana State Department of Health.

Reid Health took the rare step of issuing a public statement Sunday, Dec. 12.

It says, “Area health systems are being overrun with COVID-19 cases, leaving few to no resources for other medical needs. This is an EMERGENCY situation and requires everyone in our communities to do their part to reduce the spread of the virus.
“Hospitals that Reid Health normally would work with to ensure patient placement are not accepting patients because they either don’t have rooms for them or not enough staff to care for them.
“As a result, Reid is boarding patients in the Emergency Departments in Richmond and Connersville as staff work to find suitable places for them elsewhere.”

HCH, in New Castle, issued its own statement on Dec. 9, in which Paul Janssen, president and chief executive officer, said, “We want the community to be informed of local trends as we are experiencing a steady rise in both the number of COVID cases and the number of COVID patients requiring hospitalization. These increases are limiting bed availability and could make it difficult to care for patients who require hospitalization – whether they have COVID or need care for another serious health problem such as a heart attack, stroke, or cancer.”
The virus and staffing shortages continue to have a significant impact on staffing.

“Please, do your part to help our frontline workers,” said Janssen. “They are putting their lives on the line daily to care for you. You can make a difference.”

Other local updates

*On Friday, Centerville-Abington School Corporation reported COVID-19 cases on the rise this month, after many weeks of declining numbers.
* Wayne County Health Department issued a statement calling on residents to get vaccinated, wear facemasks in public and observe other guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control.
*A Wayne County Purdue Extension educator issued a statement last week detailing the effects of COVID-19 and encouraging vaccination. It is published as a guest column in the Dec. 15 issue of Western Wayne News.

Read more about these aspects of COVID and more in the Dec. 15 edition of Western Wayne News.

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Bob Hansen is a reporter for the Western Wayne News.