By Jeff Bird, MD, President, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital—
Muncie, IN—IU Health is committed to being a trusted source of information for the public during the COVID-19 crisis. As part of that commitment, I’d like to share with you how COVID-19 is currently impacting our hospitals and our team members.
While the most comprehensive and up-to-date information for Indiana is available through the Indiana Department of Health, here are some updates specific to the IU Health facilities in East Central Indiana.
Our numbers of COVID patients have never been higher. We’ve averaged more than 50 since the beginning of October. More than most other hospitals in the state. We know our team is tired, stressed and some are now testing positive as well.
The rate of burnout among our team has never been higher. We are making a host of resources available to our teams, but the challenges are very real and taxing. Thanks to our collaboration with other hospitals throughout the IU Health system, our supplies and staffing have remained steady despite these challenges.
Through all of this, my pride and trust in our team has never been greater. We remain capable of providing care to our community despite these unprecedented challenges.
We are over eight months into this pandemic with no signs of things letting up. COVID is prevalent in our community. Let me say that again, COVID is here in Muncie, in Portland, in Anderson, in Hartford City.
It is here.
We must all do our part to protect ourselves and each other. If it is essential for you to venture out, wear a mask over your nose and mouth, wash your hands and continue to socially distance.
Our team members are committed to providing care, but our team members are also tired. Their worlds have changed both professionally and personally in significant ways and they are not close to returning to normal.
Back in March when all the Heroes Lives Here and Heroes Work Here signs popped up in yards, it recognized our frontline workers as heroes. When local groups organized drive by prayer vigils at the hospital, it truly energized our team.
My message to the community is that we still need these points of encouragement every month if not every week. These gestures, no matter how small are needed and appreciated now more than ever.
No matter your age, health or history, please continue to wear a mask, avoid groups and crowds, wash your hands frequently, and stay home and isolated when you feel sick. Please know we are far from being out of the woods. And please take a moment to thank a frontline worker, offer encouragement and know that the value of a kind word can change the trajectory of someone’s day.
I’d like to share the words of Nicole Turner, one of our nurses who was featured on a social media series we’ve been running called ‘Voices from the front line.’ Nicole summed up her perspective in a powerful way, she said: “So much uncertainty still hangs in the balance. There isn’t an end in sight with COVID. We are exhausted, but we are finding strength in each other and showing up for our patients and communities. We are, and will be, here for you.”
I could not say it any better. Thank you for supporting our caregivers, thank you for wearing a mask and taking precautions. We’ll continue to provide the very best care for our community and we will get through this together.
It will take all of us.