COVID-19 Cases Rising Here; Hospitals Urge Added Precautions

As COVID-19 positive cases rise – threatening to reach the highest points yet – two leading southcentral Indiana health systems are partnering to raise awareness of the current and continued dangerous effects of the pandemic and urge area residents to stay vigilant in the fight against coronavirus.
While the nation awaits a vaccine, the actions and behaviors of people remain the sole determinant of increases or decreases in viral spread. As viral spread increases, it has a direct impact on not only the health of the population, but the vital resources local healthcare institutions must retain in order to adequately care for patients.
Columbus Regional Health and Schneck Medical Center are joining forces to implore the public to do its part to preventing mass outbreaks so that medical providers can preserve these vital resources, such as staff and inpatient capacity, in order to continue responding to the pandemic.
As inpatient demand remains high at both hospitals and strains on staffing have recently increased, Schneck Medical’s President & CEO Dr. Eric Fish and Columbus Regional Health Chief Executive Officer, Jim Bickel, believe the time for more diligent action is now and is in the hands of each individual.
“We know people are tired and they’re frustrated,” said Dr. Eric Fish, Chief Executive Officer of Schneck Medical Center. “This has been a marathon of a fight and the race is not over. We realize it in our own workforce– these amazing physicians, nurses and varied support staff that have been fighting on the frontlines for the last eight months are still there, giving it their all. We’re all feeling the effects.”
“We’ve learned much about COVID-19 over the past several months, both as members of the public and as healthcare institutions. We have more reliable and credible information at our finger tips. Our organizations have done a tremendous job responding to this pandemic, from acquisition and use of personal protective equipment, implementation of rigorous safety precautions and increased testing capabilities. However, the virus is continuing to spread in our communities and spread rapidly,” said Jim Bickel. “We all know the safety measures that work to minimize spread, but we need everyone to strictly adhere to them. Hospitals and health systems must be able to continue to not only care for patients with COVID-19, but also provide the comprehensive services for the varying medical needs our institutions provide every day to our patients.”
Medical evidence shows that face coverings, when worn properly greatly reduce the viral load (amount of virus-containing droplets or particles) both emitted and absorbed from person to person. Maintaining a distance of 6-feet or more from others when in public and frequent hand-washing not only limit exposure and prevent the spread of coronavirus, but of other illnesses and bacteria that commonly circulate. As temperatures continue to cool and people engage in less outdoor activities, limiting in-person social gatherings and wearing a mask around anyone not in your household is more important than ever.
Columbus Regional Health and Schneck Medical Center have been honored to serve our communities throughout the region and care for our patients through these challenging times. Our commitment to providing safe, quality care, information and resources in the communities we serve, as well as the vital support, protective equipment and guidance for our valued medical professionals remains steadfast. However, our communities stand at a critical juncture of this public health emergency. Pandemic fatigue, misinformation and more risky behaviors threaten to overwhelm our residents and subsequently your community medical providers.
“Trust the science. Masks work. Social distancing works,” Dr. Fish said. “We must all keep it up. If our hospitals and our communities work together to keep each other safe, we will get through this.”