Schneck reports more hospitalizations due to COVID-19


Schneck Medical Center reached a mark Monday that it didn’t want to be at seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Eric Fish, president and chief executive officer of the Seymour hospital, told the Schneck board of trustees during a meeting Monday night that one-third of the patients are there for treatment of COVID-19.

Around 30% of the 11 critical care beds and 22 medical beds are occupied with COVID-19 positive patients.

“Over the past two or three weeks, as our community has opened up, as the state has opened up, we’ve seen a marked increase in COVID-19 cases in the community,” Fish said, noting that translated to the one-third mark.

“Our critical care beds have been full, the medical beds have been full, and so it’s creating obviously an increase in volume here in the facility,” he said.

A week ago, Jackson County was among 21 Hoosier counties falling under the orange designation from the Indiana State Department of Health. It was one of four at 2.5, while only one Indiana county, Fountain, was designated red.

Counties are given a color designation if they have a seven-day positivity rate (all tests) of 10 to 14.9% (orange) or 15% or greater (red) and 100 to 199 new cases (orange) or 200 or more new cases (red).

The color coding is released at noon Wednesdays and reflects data from the previous Monday through Sunday. On Mondays, the ISDH calculates the weekly scores for the metrics.

To calculate test positivity rate, ISDH uses Monday’s seven-day average for the all-tests positivity rate for each county. This calculation is lagged by six days to ensure complete testing information has been received.

To calculate each county’s new weekly cases, ISDH identifies all new positive cases that were collected and resulted in the period from Monday through Sunday. This number is then divided by each county’s total population and multiplied by 100,000.

After calculating the individual scores for each of the metrics, the two scores are averaged together to determine the total county score. The ranges are 0 to 0.5 (blue), 1 to 1.5 (yellow), 2 to 2.5 (orange) and 3 (red).

As of Tuesday, Jackson County’s seven-day positivity rate was 10.3%, and there were 13 new positive cases, bringing the total to 1,087. The county has 13 deaths related to the virus.

Fish said it will be interesting to see Jackson County’s color designation today.

“On my calculation earlier (Monday), we’re teetering right on that border (of red),” he said.

As a result of the orange designation, all four Jackson County public school corporations — Brownstown Central, Crothersville, Medora and Seymour — switched their middle and high schools to hybrid schedules this week. That means students are doing a combination of in-person and virtual instruction.

“Obviously, a real concern we have here at Schneck is the increase in the number of community cases that we’re seeing, which we are seeing translating to an increase in hospital volume,” Fish said. “Similar to what we were concerned about in March and April, as we see an increase in the number of cases, that leads to hospitalizations. That’s what we’re seeing now. We’ll continue to watch that.”

Fish said Schneck continues to promote mask wearing, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings.

“Any of the outbreaks you’re seeing, that’s typically where they are coming from,” he said of people not following the protocols.

On Sept. 26, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb moved the state’s reopening plan to Stage 5, which allowed restaurants, bars, fitness centers and stores to operate at full capacity, but people had to maintain social distance and keep their masks on except while eating or drinking. The restrictions on the number of people at a public gathering also were eased.

The surge in cases locally stems from people being fatigued from the pandemic and not following science, and there’s also a lot of misinformation promoted on social media, Fish said. That leads to some people easing up on the mandates or suggestions issued by officials.

“I think a lot of this is not to be expected six months into this,” Fish said.

On a positive note, Fish praised the efforts of Dr. Christopher Bunce, an infectious disease specialist at Schneck who also is the public health officer for the Jackson County Health Department.

“He has been a valuable asset through this whole scenario, not only for Schneck but for our community,” Fish said of Bunce. “The health department has been working tirelessly to deal with this and try to slow this spread.”

On the Web

Indiana State Department of Health:

Indiana COVID-19 Dashboard and Map:

Jackson County Health Department:

Schneck Medical Center: or

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