TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Union Health reported Tuesday evening that the emergency room at Union Hospital in Terre Haute has reached excessive volumes following the Labor Day weekend.
Currently Union Hospital is experiencing “very high volumes” of COVID CASES. As of Wednesday Union Hospital in Terre Haute had 75 patients hospitalized with COVID. Dr. John Bolinger, Chief Medical Officer and VP of Medical Affairs for Union says their service area is predicted to be one of the hardest hit in the state.
Neil Garrison, director of marketing for Union Health, said additional providers are now on-site to help alleviate the higher than normal amount of patients. He said the ER will continue to remain open, but patients should expect extended delays. Some elective procedures have also been postponed.
“Probably the largest reason is because our vaccination rates are lower than other area of Indiana,” Dr. Bolinger said. “I think in general in our area, we’re seeing less masking, social distancing.”
More people who are in need of medical assistance due to COVID are requiring ICU admission and ventilators. The hospital says they could see 250 beds needed for COVID by late October which exceed the number of beds available in their facility.
“About 87 percent of our COVID admissions are among the unvaccinated patients,” Dr. Bolinger said. “An average of about 13 percent of our COVID admissions have been vaccinated patients with break through infections.”
On average, COVID length of stays at Union are around two days longer than a non-COVID length of stay. As lengths of stays increase, more beds have become unavailable which makes things harder for hospitals and their emergency rooms. Dr. Bolinger says they declared a disaster on Tuesday night.
“Actually called some of our medical staff to come into the emergency room,” Dr. Bolinger said. “They had over 100 plus patients waiting to be seen. We did have several providers come to the emergency room that aren’t nursing physicians. That are primary care providers to hep triage and treat the patients.”
Last year at this time, Dr. Bolinger says he believes they had around 85 patients with COVID in the hospital in November. They are now on track to pass that number.