Three months ago to the day (March 10), I penned an article for a regional news organization providing insights into the preparedness of a small suburban health system for a global pandemic. Little did I know at the time that I would still be writing about the pandemic exactly three months later, only this time from my office at home as my family sequesters itself due to the COVID-like symptoms of one of my children. Thanks to the guidance of our exceptional clinical team, I am certain she will recover quickly and I hope to be back in the office soon.
90 days ago, the United States had less than 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, there were only 10 in Indiana, and we were still ten days away from our first case in Hancock County. Today, we have suffered more than 100,000 deaths from the disease in our country, more than 2,000 in Indiana, with 28 of those in Hancock County. The world has witnessed nearly 7.5M cases in the intervening months with the U.S. leading the pack at more than 2 million cases. Right here in Indiana we have experienced nearly 40,000 documented infections with 150,000 more suspected, based on recent antibody testing studies.
Meanwhile, Hancock County continues to have a remarkably positive experience. Of the 15,000+ documented cases in central Indiana, only 367 have been in our county. Our own antibody testing reveals very low levels of exposure at just over half the rate experienced statewide. As our state and county continue to re-open places of business, and our hospital returns to a more normal level of service volume, we have not experienced the spikes in cases that have appeared in some other states and regions. I attribute this to the wise counsel of our state and local health department officials and to the ability of our elected officials to guide the reopening process with a steady hand.
Next Monday, June 15, marks the next phase of re-opening in our state and will come with additional returns to normalcy in the hospital as we transition back to our previous dress code, begin to welcome more visitors into the hospital, and end 100% screening of entrants in some of our locations. July 4th will mark the final stage in reopening at which point we will settle into long-term operations in the “new normal” – not where we were in the pre-COVID era, but significantly more open than we have been in recent memory.
While we are not out of the woods yet, and we will undoubtedly have temporary setbacks, the future is looking brighter with each passing day. We are truly blessed to be working together in this exceptional organization that is Hancock Health!