Health officials provide update on hospital availability

Evansville health officials provide update on hospital availability

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Health officials with area hospitals shared an updated on PPE and ICU bed availability, after Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke’s announcement Friday morning.

Health officials say, so far, the demands for PPE and ICU beds have been met, but as Deaconess Health System President Dr. James Porter explains, as the pandemic moves deeper into flu season, the narrative may quickly change.

“While we’ve had the ability to take care of everyone who has presented to us so far,” says Dr. Porter, "We’re concerned that, again, that convergence of influence and coronavirus could put us at a place where, across the entire community and region, we run out of capacity, because there are just so many people requiring that kind of hospital care.”

14 News Guest Medical Expert Dr. James Porter says his staff at Deaconess Health System is able to manage hospital availability minute by minute to ensure quality care across all locations.

The same goes for St. Vincent, according to officials. On Friday, officials say they are able to frequently replenish the system’s PPE supply, thanks to the national affiliation with Ascension. Officials also say there are ICU beds still available.

Unfortunately, the rise in cases is nothing new for southwestern Indiana. Health officials say the city has been monitoring the increase for weeks, but the visit from State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box solidified their decision to take action.

“I think Dr. Box being here coincided with us being at the point where we realize, we’re there,” says Dr. Porter. "We’re going to have to do something different.”

One question on the minds of many parents - what about high school athletics, specifically large football teams in the Tri-State? Dr. Porter says he has three student athletes of his own, and health officials will do everything they can keep players in the game.

“They need to be socially distancing themselves and trying to stay out of situations where they might get sick,” says Dr. Porter.

Although the mayor’s mandate does not go into effect for ten more days, Dr. Porter says you can start now to get the city back on track.

“That’s the thing about these mayoral proclamations and laws" says Dr. Porter. "It doesn’t require a law for us to do the right thing. I would encourage people to go out and look at the data on the Indiana State Department of Health’s website. It’s clear that something is going wrong is Southwest Indiana, and we stand out in the state. And the things that people need to do are the things that we’ve been asking them to do all along.”

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