Parkview: Region’s COVID-19 hospitalizations near record peak

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – Parkview Health says that despite the region’s near-record high hospitalizations for COVID-19, Parkview is maintaining services and access to care for the community.

The largest provider of critical care for northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio, Parkview says it has implemented numerous processes to maintain operations for both COVID-19 patients and patients with other care needs.

Additionally, the health system has increased available hospital beds and staff to accommodate the increased demand.

Parkview released the following on Tuesday:

Capacity is continually monitored and managed by health system leaders, and all Parkview hospitals continue to accept patients and ambulances. As a regional health system, Parkview is able to flex capacity between hospitals or units. Overall capacity can fluctuate hourly based on admissions, discharges and transfers, as well as available staff to support patient needs.

The best source of information for overall COVID-19 hospital admissions and intensive care unit (ICU) availability is the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) dashboard for District 3, as this data is representative of all hospitals throughout the region. As of Dec. 12, the most recent date for which IDOH dashboard data is available, Parkview was caring for 250 of the district’s 342 confirmed COVID-19 hospital inpatients.

“Even with near record-high COVID-19 patient volumes, we remain committed to doing everything we can to meet the needs of our community,” said Jeffrey Boord, MD, MPH, chief quality and safety officer, Parkview Health. “Our teams constantly assess capacity and operational flow. With rapidly rising COVID-19 activity, we are continuously adding beds and staff to care for more patients than we’ve ever seen in our hospitals before.

“We need the community to know that delaying care, whether for COVID-19 or for other needs, is not safe and often leads to increased severity of symptoms. However, it’s critical that we slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the impact this surge is having on area resources, especially our valued co-workers. We are grateful for our care teams and support staff who continue to demonstrate world-class teamwork to care for the community.”

Increased capacity

To meet the critical care needs of the region, more than 240 patient beds have been added at Parkview Regional Medical Center (PRMC) and Parkview Hospital Randallia since the start of the pandemic. PRMC has also recently increased its ICU capacity by converting its specially designed rooms to care for higher acuity patients.

One hundred twenty-five beds were added to expand COVID-19 capacity at both hospitals. Additionally, the PRMC South Tower, an expansion that began prior to the pandemic, created 96 more beds at the hospital. Parkview Hospital Randallia also added 20 beds through renovation in June of 2021.

An additional 24 beds in the PRMC South Tower and 20 beds at Parkview Hospital Randallia will open when construction is complete in early 2022. Crews are also working to add beds at Parkview DeKalb Hospital. Once operational, the expansion could accommodate 46 additional patients, if needed.

To accommodate the extra beds and increased care needs, Parkview has hired more than 600 traveling nurses, providers and other clinical staff.

Monoclonal antibodies

To help prevent hospitalizations, Parkview has provided more than 14,000 monoclonal antibody infusions, mostly in its emergency departments, since the treatment became available in late 2020. Monoclonal antibodies are given to COVID-19 patients with certain risk factors to help prevent hospitalization or death.

“While it’s impossible to know exactly how many patients would have been hospitalized without receiving monoclonal antibody treatments, many patients feel that monoclonal antibodies have led to their recovery,” said Sara Brown, MD, associate chief medical officer, PRMC. “In the last year, we’ve set up additional space near eight of Parkview’s emergency departments, improving efficiency and making more infusions possible for patients who are referred for treatment.”

Vaccination

Even with monoclonal antibody treatments available, vaccines remain the most effective way to reduce the risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. As of today, approximately 83 percent of Parkview patients hospitalized for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

“The large majority of hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated,” Dr. Boord said. “We urge everyone to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and receive their booster dose as well. Vaccines help protect not only individuals, but also our entire community. Together, we can help slow the spread of this virus and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations or deaths.”

One year ago, on Dec. 14, 2020, Parkview administered the first COVID-19 vaccines in the state of Indiana. Since then, Parkview has administered more than 160,000 doses to the community, through its clinic locations on the PRMC campus and through pop-up clinics throughout the area.

The Parkview Health COVID-19 vaccine clinic, currently located at 3718 New Vision Drive, Building C, Fort Wayne, offers first, second and booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Booster shots are now recommended for anyone age 16 and older. To make an appointment, visit ourshot.in.gov or call 260-266-0778 or toll free, 1-877-651-0748. Walk-ins are also welcome.