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Strained hospitals counting on people to do their part to slow spread of COVID-19

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Posted at 8:04 AM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-25 08:04:24-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Just because hospitals are focusing many of their resources on COVID-19, it does not mean other medical issues stop.

Lately, terrifying images from European countries show hospitals overflowing with patients sickened by the covonavirus. In the United States, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals warn we need to take the virus seriously to prevent that from happening here.

"People need to stop just thinking about themselves and think of everyone around them," Dr. Debra Baylos said.

Baylos said people not adhering to social distancing guidelines will allow the virus to keep spreading.

"There are people that are carrying this infection and don't even know it," she said.

Baylos said those people will be the ones who give it unknowingly to someone else who will end up in the hospital, which exposes healthcare workers to the virus setting up a host of other issues.

"A lot of providers who are testing positive and needing to take time off of their own," Dr. Greg Martin said.

Martin said hospital staff are just one part of our three-component healthcare system. It also includes hospital beds, along with equipment used by the staff.

"If we end up with a shortage of one, it doesn't matter how many of the other we have," Martin said.

A shortage of one of those doesn't only impact people suffering from COVID-19.

"For instance, a patient who experiences a car accident, or a heart attack or a stroke may also need that same critical care resource and ICU bed, but if taken up by a coronavirus patient, then we can't take care of the young person who's been injured in a car accident or anyone else who has experienced a life threatening injury," Martin said.

Martin is confident in our country's ability to handle this pandemic if people do their part to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"The social distancing strategy that we're putting in place will make an impact, but it takes time for it to have an impact," he said.