Henry Community Health is reaching out to local residents asking for their support as the hospital is facing a critical point with an aggressive influx of COVID-19 patients.

“We need everyone to understand how dangerous the current trends are as we are experiencing a dangerous rise in both the number of COVID cases and the number of COVID patients requiring hospitalization,” stressed Paul Janssen, HCH president and chief executive officer. “This alarming increase in COVID patients could make it difficult to care for patients who require hospitalization – whether they have COVID or need care for another serious health problem such as for a heart attack, cancer or influenza.”

Janssen added transferring patients to other hospitals may not be an option as those hospitals, too, are near capacity and cannot accept transfer patients.

“Please recognize the severity of this situation and follow the advice of Governor Holcomb and the CDC. We urge you to wear a mask whenever you are in public, limit social gatherings, wash your hands frequently, follow quarantine and isolation advice from the local health department, and socially distance,” implored Janssen. “Stay home at Thanksgiving and ask your relatives who don’t live with you to do the same. And to be truly safe, stay away from gathering with friends and family members who don’t live in your household.”

COVID cases significantly increased in November

According to a recent White House Coronavirus Task Force report there is now “aggressive, unrelenting, expanding broad community spread across the country, reaching most counties, without evidence of improvement but rather, further deterioration. Current mitigation efforts are inadequate and must be increased to flatten the curve to sustain the health system for both COVID and non-COVID emergencies.”

Janssen said, “If individuals in our community don’t take this seriously, Henry Community Health may not be able to care for them or their family because of lack of beds and decreased number of staff who care for patients. While our care team members are committed to providing care to our community, they are tired and under a significant amount of stress. We need the community’s help to keep them healthy and rested to care for those who need it the most.”

Hospital already limiting procedures and services

The expansion of the COVID unit, along with the increase in hospitalizations, has forced Henry Community Health to limit elective procedures. The delay of elective surgical procedures may have a negative effect on the health of many patients.

The hospital also had to close down several elective outpatient services such as Sleep Center, Pulmonary Function Tests, EEGs, Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, and some services at HealthRidge.

According to Janssen, the virus has also had a significant impact on staffing.

“Several staff members have COVID, are quarantined due to exposure, or are staying home with their children who are quarantined or attending school virtually due to school closures,” he said. ”This creates a significant burden on their ability to provide care to an increasing number of patients.

“Please, do your part to help our healthcare workers on the frontline,” Janssen continued. “They are putting their lives on the line daily to care for you. You can make a difference.”

Visitor restrictions continue

For the safety of staff and patients, no visitors are allowed at Henry Community Health, with the following exceptions:

One visitor in the Women’s & Children’s Unit

Inpatient Surgery (day of surgery only)

At time of admission to or discharge from inpatient unit

Minor’s may be accompanied by one guardian

End of Life

Patient Need, i.e. dementia, assault, etc.

Vaccine is coming but the need to wear masks, social distance must continue

“There is good news about the potential of vaccines that are proving to be effective in clinical trials. While it is unsure when distribution will begin or who can first receive it, please closely watch the news and take the vaccine when you are eligible,” Janssen added. “In the meantime, please continue to wear a mask, socially distance, limit social gatherings and wash your hands regularly.”