Officials See Increase Of Those Dying At Home

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana’s official coronavirus death toll is more than 470. But the virus’s full list of victims includes some Hoosiers who were never infected at all.

State Health Commissioner Kristina Box says there’s been an increase in the number of Hoosiers dying at home — many of them from cardiac arrest or other conditions unrelated to coronavirus. Box says people may either be afraid of catching the virus at the hospital or just not wanting to overburden the emergency room.

Box says neither of those concerns should stop you from calling 911 if you need urgent medical assistance. State Emergency Medical Service Medical Director Mike Kaufmann says there is enough capacity to handle you — when the health department talks about making sure the state has enough intensive care beds, that includes beds for problems besides coronavirus. Right now, just over half the state’s ICU beds are full — they’re divided almost evenly between patients with the virus and patients with other problems.

Box says it appears the state’s coronavirus is beginning to plateau. She and Governor Holcomb credit the state’s three-week-old stay-home order, and Hoosiers’ diligence in following it. Holcomb says he’s begun talking with Indiana trade associations about how the state might go about lifting an order to shut down non-essential businesses.

Holcomb says the lifting of that order will be a “rolling reopening,” and could involve some regions or industries getting back to work before others. He’s reiterating that he’ll base those decisions on the numbers of cases and how well equipped hospitals are with gear, space, and personnel to handle the expected cases to follow.

The current stay-home order is scheduled to expire on Monday. Holcomb has said he’ll announce “tweaks” to the order Friday, which he says could involve tighter or looser restrictions, depending on the data.