How hospitals are handling rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Local News

KNOX COUNTY., Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — As COVID-19 cases rise throughout the Wabash Valley the number of people entering the hospital to treat their positive case has risen as well.

Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, IN currently having 10 people hospitalized due to COVID, they’ve seen positive cases continue to rise this summer.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of positive COVID cases community wide really since Fourth of July weekend,” Adam Thacker, chief operating officer for Good Samaritan. “The last 30 days, Knox County has 195 positive cases. The 60 days prior to that, may and June had a total of 49 positive cases.”

Hospitals are seeing individuals who are both vaccinated and unvaccinated but those who aren’t have usually experienced worse symptoms.

“Predominantly the unvaccinated population is ending up in the hospital and unfortunately needing that level of care,” Thacker explained. “Those vaccinated that are in that small percentage that do have breakthrough infections and symptoms and are testing positive are milder symptoms.”

Kaitilyn Harvey a nurse at Greene County General Hospital is on the front lines of the pandemic and explains what she has seen over the last few weeks.

“As a nurse this week I have cared for both vaccinated and unvaccinated patients,” Kaitilyn Harvey, a nurse in the Medical/Surgical Department at Greene County General Hospital, said. “Putting on my PPE again for the first time in a while I was feeling a little anxious and defeated. As I assessed the first patient that had been vaccinated I almost felt a weight lift off of my shoulders.”

“I walked in to find a patient that even though they were sick, they were not wearing oxygen, had a mild cough and had an overall good assessment,” Harvey continued. “These patients in my opinion are mimicking a patient with a ‘cold’ or bronchitis. They still do not feel 100% but are not extremely ill like unvaccinated individuals are.”

“This week I also unfortunately cared for patients that have not been vaccinated,” she said. “These patients were very ill. These patients struggle doing very minimal tasks such as repositioning in bed, using the bathroom, eating and talking all while requiring high amounts of oxygen. Other assessment findings with unvaccinated patients with COVID-19 are body aches, fever, extreme weakness, no appetite, coughing and truly just feeling miserable.”  

“As a nurse I hope that everyone is now seeing that this pandemic is far from over,” Harvey concluded. “I hope that other people will chose to trust science and our healthcare system and get a vaccine. I hope that others will do their part to protect children that cannot be vaccinated, immunocompromised individuals, elderly and our future.”

Doctors and nurses have also had to deal with COVID in their personal lives which has caused staffing problems for many hospitals.

“We are definitely experiencing more employees having to be out, having to be quarantined,” Stacy Burris, director of community outreach at Greene County General Hospital. “We were at barely maybe zero to one employee kind of here and there having to be out. Now we’re up to ten are out.”

Hospital officials say though positive case numbers are not what they were a year ago or at the pandemic’s peak, it is still a cause for concern.

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