Coronavirus Update: March 27, 2020

Well, if you read my update last night, you may have noticed that I predicted the U.S. would overtake Italy and China in a matter of days to become the leading country in the world for COVID-19 infections. I was wrong.  It was only a matter of hours. As I write this, America has over 100,000 individuals verified as infected with the coronavirus and it is likely the actual number is much, much higher due to the lack of testing capacity.

As of midnight, Indiana had 981 positive cases and 24 deaths.  It is likely that in the intervening 20 hours we have added another 300 – 400 cases.  Hancock County now stands at 13 verified infections and one death.  At our hospital there are glimmers that things are beginning a slow ramp up, perhaps a sign of things to come.

I had the opportunity to sit in on a statewide meeting this evening where a predictive model was discussed that suggested a 12 week impact on hospitals which, during the highest intensity weeks, would consume 30% of inpatient capacity, require nearly double the ICU capacity and triple the ventilator capacity currently existing in the state.  Oddly, this analysis gave me some hope as our efforts at Hancock have successfully created more than 30% inpatient capacity, more than doubled our ICU capacity, and provided nearly three times the ventilator capacity than we had before.  Keep in mind that this is the most likely scenario and our actual experience could be somewhat lower, or much higher.

With these figures in mind I believe the real test will not be in space, not in equipment, not even in supplies, it will be in people.  The next 12 weeks will be arduous, we will be tested beyond anything any of us have experienced in our careers, indeed in our entire lives.  But I also know that the strength of Hancock

Health is exactly that – our People!  With that in mind, the following phrase sent to me by Chris Burns today is perfect: Hancock Health: Together, WE are the solution.

The next update will come on Monday as we provide another breather for the leadership team.  If you have the opportunity, please take advantage of the warmer days (70 degrees on Saturday!) to get outside with those closest to you (but no parties!), refresh, reinvigorate, and reflect on the many gifts God has given us.

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.
  • 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