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Hospital Workers Being “Crushed” Under Continued COVID-19 Surge

Dr. Daniel Wickert says hospital staff are being "crushed" by ongoing COVID wave (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

Hospital workers are being “crushed” under a continued surge of COVID-19, with a peak not expected until October, according to officials. 

At a press briefing Wednesday, Franciscan Health’s Dr. Daniel Wickert said the strain is continuing to weigh on employees across every department. He read an email from staff who say they feel “overlooked.” 

“‘We are all being crushed by COVID patients and working extremely hard while feeling the brunt of the community and only a select few getting praised’,” Wickert said.

According to Wickert, during a recent presentation state officials projected a local hospitalization peak sometime in early October.  

“We are thankful every week that goes by that the system is not broken,” he said. “It feels sometimes like we are hanging on with our fingertips.”

In addition to strained hospital capacity, Wickert said the hospital is also in need of crutches. He called on members of the community to provide the hospital with crutches - if they are able. 

“Because of all the distribution problems across the country we are in need of additional crutches,” he said. “Many of you have a crutch someplace in the house -- you could donate it and we’d greatly appreciate that.”

Wickert said they will take donations of crutches so long as they are “gently” used.

Dr. Jeremy Adler gives the Tippecanoe County COVID-19 update (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

Tippecanoe County Health Officer Dr. Jeremy Adler reiterated that COVID vaccinations are safe and effective and urged residents to wear masks while indoors.  

“As I mentioned, the CDC is also recommending that everyone wear masks in public indoor spaces in areas with substantial or high transmission,” he said. “That would include Tippecanoe County.”

Adler added that COVID-19 testing need across the state is currently outpacing availability and the state plans to begin reopening some testing locations. 

“The Tippecanoe County health department has requested to host a testing site and we hope to have some more information about that shortly. The state’s plan is to open these testing sites within the next few weeks,” he said.

The health department also provided an update on school COVID cases and quarantines. 

Currently, Tippecanoe School Corporation has 221 cases with 1892 quarantines. TSC was the only major local district to start school without required masking. 

“When you compare the cases and quarantines from those first two weeks without masks being required to the second two weeks with masks required, what we see is there have been 11 fewer cases and 410 fewer quarantines comparing those two timeframes,” Adler said. “So there does appear to be a difference when the schools require masks versus not require masks.”

Lafayette School Corporation has reported 55 cases and 178 quarantines. West Lafayette Community School Corporation has 32 cases and 158 quarantines. 

The Indiana Department of Health reported three additional COVID deaths and 53 confirmed COVID cases in Tippecanoe County in its Wednesday update. The county remained in the orange category on the state’s COVID metrics map.