Coronavirus Update: March 26, 2020

48,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported worldwide yesterday with the total number of infected now exceeding half a million people. The United States is third highest on the list of COVID-infected countries and is poised to overtake Italy by early next week and likely China by the end of the week.  The large cities in America appear to be hardest hit so far with greater New York heading the list.  Indiana is 11th in terms of number of new cases per day, which is troubling given that we are the 17th largest state and Indianapolis is the 34th largest metro area. This is especially concerning since two-thirds of positive cases in our state are in Marion and the contiguous counties.  Hancock County has nine positive cases, and one death, and we are awaiting the results of more than 20 pending tests. We are fortunate that none of these positive cases, or the death, have been inpatients at our hospital.

Should your friends and family have questions on the virus, its impact, and the preparations Hancock Health has undertaken, please refer them to our website (http://www.hancockregionalhospital.org/coronavirus/) which has a growing body of resources to help.

Current projections indicate Indiana will hit the surge of COVID-19 positive patients in mid-April (perhaps late-April) so we are taking advantage of this time to continue our preparations:

  • The Hancock Triage Clinic and  Hancock Covid Triage hotline 317.325.2683 (COVD) continue to provide needed service to the community during this time.
  • Work to retrofit the Reflections unit to our first COVID care unit is nearly complete and additional surge plans are being finalized that include in-house and off-site locations including our Gateway facility as a last resort.
  • On Monday, March 30, 2020, we will stop in-person visitation. As with most area hospitals, we will make a very small number of exceptions for births or deaths.  We will send out more specifics on this tomorrow or over the weekend. We are also very excited about our e-visitation which is now available via iPad or iPhone.  We will have reserved spots and iPads for visitors to use in our parking lot if they do not have a device to use.  Of course, patients and family can utilize their own devices at their convenience. Learn more at https://www.hancockregionalhospital.org/2020/03/friends-or-family-in-the-hospital-e-visit/
  • Some hospitals in Indianapolis and surrounding counties are in a yellow or red status for PPE. We are very fortunate to still be in the green. This doesn’t mean we can stop conserving. Every item we can conserve might mean one more day of PPE for our staff caring for all our patients.  Special thanks go to Stephanie Long, Austin Fridley, their supply chain team and all the nurses, physicians, lab techs, rad techs, and other care givers that have stepped up to the plate to make this possible. You are appreciated!
  • We are blessed to be finding new avenues to obtain additional PPE and for a very generous community as well who are finding and bringing in additional supplies.  Should you have folks in the community who would like to donate to the cause, please have them contact Nancy Davis at ndavis@hancockregional.org
  • We are developing a temporary transportation team to help our patients make it to their health care appointments since other transportation options are closing for a while.  If you have patients that need transportation assistance, please contact Amanda Everidge at Aeveridge@hancockregional.org
  • Many thanks to Ty Hunt and the entire Food & Nutrition team for developing the Hancock Health mini-market in the cafeteria – words cannot describe what a wonderful resource this is for our associates!
  •  As we continue to prepare for the coming surge, we have begun the process of readying our associates for very different kinds of work than they are used to. Adam Wilhelm and the education team are starting a Nursing Bootcamp for our staff that work in specialty or outpatient environments so they can get used to the acute care environment.  We will also be calling on associates in our personnel pool to help in the inventory of our equipment so we have a real-time count of the resources we have on hand and where it is located.

As I have mentioned before, please take advantage of our Chaplains – Russ Jarvis and Katherine Murray – their calm and hopeful demeanor during this time is even more infectious than the disease!

All the Best,
Steve