Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and Allen County Commissioners Rich Beck, Therese Brown, and Nelson Peters were joined by Mindy Waldron, department administrator for the Allen County Department of Health, Dr. Jason Row, Parkview Health, Dr. Vishal Bhatia, Lutheran Health Network, and Dr. Geoff Randolph, IU Health-Fort Wayne.
Healthcare leaders discussed the current status of operations/what they’re seeing with COVID-19, how treatment is going at their respective facilities, what the public can do to help, and where we go from here in the health sector.
Highlights of the ongoing medical response:
Allen County Department of Health: The Allen County Department of Health wants to remind everyone that COVID-19 is still here, and positive cases continue to increase in our community. We all play an important role in protecting ourselves and everyone around us and must remain vigilant in using recommended precautions, including wearing a mask or face covering over your nose and mouth in public spaces, avoiding close contact with others and frequent handwashing. We know the public is probably tired of hearing the same messages, but these precautions are key to keeping COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations at a level our healthcare system can manage.
Parkview Health: Parkview hospitals remain safe and ready to care for patients with COVID-19 and other concerns. However, the recent increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations has us concerned for the health of our community. We encourage everyone to remain vigilant in taking precautions – wearing a face mask, practicing social distancing and washing your hands.
Lutheran Health Network: It’s important for members of our community to put their health first and to be able to access the care they need. We encourage our patients to always seek immediate emergency care for serious conditions such as heart attack or stroke. We also encourage continuity of care, especially for those with chronic health conditions – this can be done via a virtual/telehealth visit or in the office. Safety remains our top priority and we continue to take extraordinary steps to maintain a safe environment for all, including limiting access points and implementing social distancing protocols; screening everyone who walks in our doors, including employees; requiring all staff, visitors, employees and physicians to wear a mask; establishing non-COVID-19 Care Zones with dedicated staff and isolating COVID-19 patients to one area with a dedicated provider team. Recently, we have seen a slight uptick in the number of patients with COVID-19. We carefully monitor the needs to support and protect the patients in our care and to be prepared for any changes in the current COVID-19 situation in our community. COVID-19 will be part of our environment for the foreseeable future, so we need to function as COVID-19 safe as opposed to COVID-free. With more social gatherings occurring, we would like to emphasize the importance of wearing a mask that covers both the mouth and nose while in public, social distancing of at least six feet and frequent hand washing. We know doing these things increases safety for all and makes a significant impact.
IU Health-Fort Wayne: Indiana University Health continues to see a steady stream of new COVID-19 cases throughout the state, though the overall severity of the cases seems to be less extreme with lower numbers of patients on ventilators and in Intensive Care Units than in prior months. It is still very important to utilize the precautionary measures advised by the CDC, stay home when you are sick and use masks and social distancing when you are in public. Locally and statewide IU Health has judiciously increased the numbers of patients we see for in office visits with strict attention to keeping our patients and staff safe. This involves modified check in processes, minimal to no waiting room time, the use of masks and distancing, and sanitizing following all encounters. We also continue to provide and improve upon virtual visits for patient circumstances that are appropriate. Our key message is that you should not delay your healthcare; you will be safe and well taken care of in our hands.
“COVID-19 remains a serious public health threat in our community. It’s critical for all of us to continue to use good judgment to help lessen the impact of the virus,” said Mayor Henry. “We’re grateful for the outstanding work being performed each day by our local healthcare providers. I’m also encouraged by the collective efforts of individuals, families, neighborhoods, and businesses as we work together to be considerate and patient in these difficult times.”
“The dangerousness of this virus, of this pandemic, hasn’t changed. Let’s not get complacent. We can all do our best to try to reduce our chances of spreading the coronavirus to others by wearing masks, by maintaining distancing between people, and by avoiding crowds indoors,” said the Allen County Board of Commissioners.
The public is encouraged to visit www.cityoffortwayne.org/covid-19 where a community resource page is updated regularly with information about COVID-19.