INDIANAPOLIS (AP): The number of COVID-19 patients in Indiana hospitals continued its sharp spike over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend even as state political leaders debated steps toward ending the statewide public health emergency from the pandemic.
Indiana hospitals had about 2,000 COVID-19 patients admitted as of Sunday, an increase of 170, or 9%, from Tuesday, according to tracking by the state health department. Indiana has seen a 66% increase in such hospitalizations over the past three weeks after declines from a summer surge peak of nearly 2,700 patients in September.
Indiana and other Midwestern states had seen a recent surge of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations even before identification of the omicron variant last week sparked new worldwide concerns.
Indiana’s tracking on Monday added 52 COVID-19 deaths to the state’s toll from when it was last updated Wednesday. That boosts the statewide death total to 17,438.
The Republican-dominated state Legislature had been scheduled to meet Monday for votes on a proposal that included administrative actions which Gov. Eric Holcomb had said would enable him to allow the state’s public health emergency that he first issued in March 2020 to expire Wednesday.
But those votes were called off by legislative leaders following objections from medical and business groups over provisions forcing broad exemptions from workplace vaccination requirements.
Health experts argued such actions would hurt attempts to improve Indiana’s lagging COVID-19 vaccination rate that the Centers for Disease Control ranks 11th lowest in the country at 50.5%.