Holcomb directs Indiana hospitals to postpone elective procedures amid COVID surge

Holcomb directs Indiana hospitals to postpone elective procedures amid COVID surge

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WAVE) - Citing a further increase if cases of COVID-19, Gov. Eric Holcomb reimposed restrictions on Indiana hospitals regarding elective procedures.

During his coronavirus briefing Wednesday, Holcomb directed hospitals to reschedule or postpone non-emergent procedures for in-patients from Dec. 16 to Jan. 3. Holcomb previously imposed such restrictions in April.

“This is only for procedures that can be postponed or delayed over this three week period so we can try to clear out beds, give some relief to our hospital personnel and network,” he said.

Holcomb stressed those with urgent medical issues should still seek urgent care at the hospital if needed.

Baptist Health Floyd president Mike Schroyer told WAVE 3 Holcomb’s move supports efforts already in place to preserve capacity.

“I’m not surprised, at his announcement we were already doing something very close to that,” he said. “Really monitoring how we are utilizing our inpatient beds because we have seen an increase in COVID positive inpatients here at Baptist Health Floyd.”

Schroyer said COVID hospitalizations have increased in the weeks following Thanksgiving.

“I think we’re starting or have started to see that surge, I think we’ll continue to see it for another week or so, then we’ll probably see the same thing after the Christmas, New Year holiday.”

For weeks, Indiana hospitals have been at or near capacity. The state on Wednesday reported 3,244 hospitalized COVID patients; an increase of 84% in the state’s hospitalization rate from November.

“The state of Indiana, when you talk about counties being red, the state of Indiana is on fire,” Holcomb said.

The scorching spread of the virus continues to drive hospitalization numbers. The state on Wednesday reported that each of Indiana’s 92 counties were in the “red” zone for at least one metric the state uses to monitor the virus.

For the past four weeks, all 92 counties have reported at least 200 COVID cases per 100,000.

According to the CDC, Indiana is third in the nation for average daily cases of COVD-19 per 100,000, behind Rhode Island and North Dakota.

“That’s where you see this exponential rate, literally as we see it start to spin out of control in management so we’ve got an opportunity here to address this but we’re going to have to take the steps to do just that,” Holcomb said.

In an effort to stop the spread, Gov. Holcomb on Wednesday also announced updated limits on social gatherings by county in Indiana. Local health departments are not allowed to grant exceptions.

The limits are:

  • 25 people in red counties
  • 50 people for orange counties
  • 100 people in yellow counties
  • 250 people in blue counties

Holcomb also released specific guidelines for school sporting events:

  • K-12 extracurricular and co-curricular activities may continue but attendance is limited to participants, support personnel and parents/guardian plus their minor children for counties in the red. Those in blue, yellow and orange must limit capacity to 25%, in consultation with local health departments.
  • College and professional sports may continue with participants, support personnel and family members, A local health department may approve a plan for a fan attendance of up to 25% capacity.

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