I am hoping you enjoyed a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend and were able to spend time relaxing with family and friends.
An indication of the odd times we are living in was the lack of the Indy 500 this weekend… On the bright side (for those of us who are avid race fans), late summer and early fall are shaping up to be extraordinary with many major races (including the Indy 50 on August 23) scheduled for that time period in central Indiana!
On the COVID data front, what a difference a week makes in the trends! The number of news cases in Indiana is near its lowest level since early April, and Central Indiana is near its lowest level in nearly two months. The number of new deaths associated with COVID-19 in the state continues dropping (slowly) as well. While the virus is not gone, it is becoming clear that the re-opening of the economy is not yet having an adverse impact on the spread of the disease in our region. If new cases and new deaths continue on this downward trend through the end of June, it may indicate smooth sailing for the summer, since any surges associated with re-opening society should have manifested by that time. Still in question is whether a surge may happen late in the year when the weather turns cold again, but we will be well-prepared in the event it happens.
Many articles are appearing that provide insight into safely re-opening society, and the following from the New Yorker is one of the better ones: https://www.newyorker.com/science/medical-dispatch/amid-the-coronavirus-crisis-a-regimen-for-reentry.
Hancock Health is nearing the end of an initial round of antibody testing of first-responders and healthcare workers in the county. The numbers so far are informative – we look forward to sharing them with you early next week and announcing the winner of the contest!
Given the continued positive changes in COVID rates, it seems clear that the Governor will advance to Stage 4 of the “back on track” plan on June 14th rather waiting until July 4th. For more information, please check out the following link: https://www.wishtv.com/news/coronavirus/most-of-indiana-moves-to-stage-3-of-reopening-on-friday/.
At Hancock Health, we continue to slowly ramp our services back up with significant volume increases in many of our departments. The fact that our COVID positive patient numbers continue to remain low (we have only one positive inpatient as I write this update) provides reassurance that our re-opening plans are on the right track. Today, our Wellness Centers opened with limited services, our essential volunteers returned to the hospital, and Healthy365 activities begin again on a limited basis.
Our re-opening plan has multiple stages with the following still to come:
We have added significant resources on safe re-opening for all organizations, and these are available in a toolkit on our dedicated website, and we encourage you to take a look at that material: https://coronavirus.hancockregionalhospital.org/
Today marked 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. (350,000 worldwide), and the majority of those were over the age of 60 Given this, it is essential to remember that the virus is not gone. The elderly and infirm remain most at risk, so it is essential for us to continue to protect them until a vaccine is available.