Michiana Hospitals 'overwhelmed' by COVID-19 patients

NOW: Michiana Hospitals ’overwhelmed’ by COVID-19 patients

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Indiana's high COVD-19 case counts are putting a burden on Michiana hospitals. Leaders from Beacon Health System and Spectrum Health Lakeland both said this week their hospitals are "overwhelmed with patients. Those leaders are pleading with the public to adhere to recommendations put forth by local health departments to bring case numbers back down and ease the burden off of hospitals.

"This pandemic has stretched us and squeezed us in a way that we have never ever experienced before," Beacon Health System Vice President of Nursing and Clinical Services Sarah Paturalski said at Wednesday's Indiana weekly COVID-19 update.

Paturalski said hospitals are overwhelmed because of a large amount of patients as well as a shortage of staff. Hospitals said they have a numbe of doctors and nurses who are in quarantine because of either contracting or being exposed to the coronavirus.

"We have an abundance of patients, more than we can, quite frankly, handle right now," Paturalski said.

St. Joseph County COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Rea who serves as a liaison between the Health Department and the business community, said now more than ever, it is essential to adhere to the recommendations put out by the Health Department.

"For months, we've tried to share the messages about ways the community can contribute and help to limit the spread. So many people are doing a phenomenal job of doing that, but not everybody is. I think now is the time to buckle down and help these health systems."

Rea said it's critical people follow the recommendations because if things continue to trend in the direction they are, he does not know what the future could hold.

"I think right now, the hope is the recommendations do the trick, but what we saw for example this weekend in Michigan," Rea said. "I do some work up in Berrien County where the Governor has issued a mandate that has shut businesses down again because she felt they were at that critical point. We could get to that point."

Rea said there is a balance between keeping the economy functioning and taking every step to bring down the St. Joseph County case count. He said he and other business leaders do not want another economic shutdown, but ultimately, he said, the decision for that is up to the County Health Department.

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