COVID patients in single digits at Clark Memorial, none on ventilators
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It’s been nearly one year since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in Indiana.
In spite of fluctuating positivity rates over the last 12 months, Indiana’s positivity rate continues to drop. The state reported a 4.1% positivity rate Tuesday.
At Clark Memorial Hospital in Clark County, Indiana, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Klaus Boel said they are starting to see a decline in patient numbers, too.
“We’re in single digits when it comes to overall COVID patients and we are COVID-ventilator free,” Boel said with a smile Tuesday.
It’s the first time he’s been able to say that in months; he told WAVE 3 News he couldn’t remember the last time that was the case.
With a year under his belt treating COVID patients, Boel says it’s good to not have any patients on ventilators since the end of last week.
“This is huge in two ways,” he said. “One is it really does show that doing the right things and having the vaccination program in place and successful makes a big difference. But the other thing I think is huge is that this has been a hard year for people in healthcare, right? I think our nurses really need this, our staff really need this, our doctors really need this to see a positive movement.”
Currently, Clark Memorial does not have any patients on ventilators. However, the hospital has still some patients with COVID in intensive care.
“I know a lot of [the nurses] have had a very difficult time with over the last year because unfortunately even with the best-case scenarios and best things you can do from a healthcare standpoint, from a medicine delivery standpoint, we’ve had patients that have died from COVID,” Boel said. “That is just so difficult not only on the families, but also, I think sometimes we forget how difficult that is on the patient’s nurses who are taking care of them day in and day out. Especially at the time when patients weren’t getting as many visitors due to COVID and really, they were the ones holding their hand and being right there with them.”
While a lot has changed in the past year with mask wearing, social distancing, cancelled events and more abnormalities in everyday life, Boel said the healthcare system has learned how to better treat the virus.
“That’s been a game changer over the last year,” he said. “Just from the standpoint of what medications work, what medications don’t work, what works as far as early ventilator use, later ventilator use. Trying to keep patients off the ventilator is now a much better strategy that what we had early on.”
Boel said from a science standpoint, the use of the monoclonal antibody and the vaccine have been incredibly helpful in treating and lowering the number of COVID-19 cases.
He praised the vaccination rollout process and the focus on getting the older population vaccinated first.
“I do think that getting that age group that is so vulnerable to this virus vaccinated first, has really made an impact on the patients we’re seeing in the hospital and the patients we’re seeing on the ventilator,” he said.
Now, Hoosiers who are 60 years and older can sign up for the vaccine.
Schedule an appointment online at ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211.
The Clark County and Floyd County health departments announced starting Tuesday, Feb. 23, only Indiana residents will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine at Indiana sites.
Previously, Kentucky residents who worked in the Hoosier state could sign up for the vaccine in Indiana. As of Tuesday, vaccine locations require proof of residency when people arrive for their vaccine appointment.
If someone who is not a resident has already received their first dose of the vaccine in Indiana, they will be allowed to receive their second dose.
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