Elkhart General is running low on space as Covid-19 hospitalizations increase

NOW: Elkhart General is running low on space as Covid-19 hospitalizations increase

ELKHART, Ind. --- Hospitals in Elkhart County are experiencing such large numbers of Covid-19 patients, that on Tuesday, Elkhart General had to divert their ambulance traffic for only the second time in 20 years. 

"We have seen our in-patient census really for the Covid-19 patients increase at a very rapid and concerning pace since the beginning of September," said Vice President of Medical Affairs for Elkhart General Michelle Bache. 

Half of the patients at Elkhart General are now Covid patients, and by the day available rooms are becoming more scarce for those seeking medical care not related to Covid. This has left patients to be diverted to other area hospitals located in Goshen and Saint Joseph County, where they are experiencing critical levels as well. 

"September 1st, for instance, we had 11 Covid-19 patients in our hospital, October 1st we had 26, on November 1st we had 61, and yesterday we had 88...89,89," said Dr. Bache. 

Another issue is age is not playing a factor anymore. Due to the wide amount of community spread in the county any age, regardless of health, can become infected. 

"We are seeing because of the degree of community spread, you know household spread, workspace spread, we are seeing patients in their 30s, 40s, and 50s that are coming in and requiring hospitalization and care," said Dr. Bache. 

Supplies are also a growing issue, as concerns grow over available oxygen support. Ventilators, beds, IV pumps, and other needed supplies are being focused on Covid-19 inpatients, which give fewer options for those non-covid patients. Additionally, the hospital staff is being pushed to the brink, due to high volumes of hospital traffic, leaving them to aggressively look at bringing in more help.

"All of our staff, we are continuing to be really aggressive with our efforts to bring traveler nurses, trying to get traveler respiratory therapy, trying to get traveler lab techs, anybody we can get to fill those roles," said Dr. Bache. 

Currently, there are 103 patients at isolation in Elkhart General, and with expectations for more patients, the hospital has to re-work their Covid-19 surge plan. 

The reason for the re-work?

The original plan has already been exceeded by 100%. 

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