Genevieve Lankowicz, MD, MBA, CPE Regional Chief Clinical Officer for Saint Joseph Health System released information on the COVID-19 pandemic for our area.  Her release follows:

It looks like our regional case counts in Marshall, Elkhart and St. Joseph are holding steady or slightly declining a bit. Maybe this is a sign of a persistent decline. Of course, we all hope for that! But, regional hospitalizations are expected to remain high and may even increase a bit in the near term since we know that the hospitalization pattern lags behind observed case count trends.

This week, our area hospitals all had time periods of “diversion” again and we frequently saw friends, neighbors and family members waiting in the hallways of our Emergency Departments for hospital beds to become available. Hospitals, ambulatory practice offices and urgent care centers continue to work very hard trying to keep up with demand.

Our supply of Monoclonal Antibody preparations is sent to us from the Indiana State Department of Health (IDOH) and we are in communication regularly with them. Unfortunately, the demand for Monoclonal Antibody treatments and other medications employed to treat Covid-19 has increased significantly. IDOH is distributing all that they receive from the federal government as quickly and efficiently as possible, but we may not have enough to meet our needs here in Michiana.

In addition, our supply of other Covid-19 treatment protocol medications does NOT meet demand at this time. One medication in particular, given to treat the terrible escalation of inflammation which occurs with Covid-19, is in short supply due to production failing to meet overall demand. Now, all hospitalized patients may not receive the treatments deemed most effective. There is nothing more stressful to physicians and clinical professionals than interference with being able to offer the best treatments and medications.

The best action you can take at this time is to receive the recommended vaccination and booster dose regimen. Avoiding Covid-19 illness is the best option. While treatments and interventions have been established to help many patients recover from Covid-19, our current surge has resulted in a demand which is out pacing the supply of treatments.

Are you concerned about variants? Omicron has not yet been identified in Indiana. A random sampling of positive tests is regularly sent to the CDC for analysis, but most experts believe Omicron is already here and just not yet detected in the sampling. Do vaccines work against Omicron? Yes, they do. In addition, studies do show that people who have received booster dosing are better protected against Omicron.

Are you concerned about your overall health after recovery from Covid-19 illness? This concern is valid as studies do demonstrate increased illness and mortality in the year after recovery from Covid-19. Post-Covid deep vein thrombosis (“DVT”- clotting in large veins) and other conditions related to clotting (stroke, heart attack and pulmonary embolism “PE”-lung blood clot) are certainly one reason for concern. Some experts recommend preventive medication to avoid conditions related to blood clotting after recovery. Know that the medications used to prevent blood clots are also associated with some risk related to side effects.

It is easy to see that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Please get your booster today and avoid the significant concerns which accompany Covid-19 illness. Preventing Covid-19 illness is the best answer.

Saint Joseph Health System is here for you and caring for this community is our calling. We know we’ve got a lot of work to do to improve the overall health of our community. Let’s get Covid-19 out of the way so that we can focus on improving the overall health and well-being of Michiana. Get the booster, avoid crowds indoors, use masks wash and sanitize hands frequently and maintain a safe distance from others. Let’s start 2022 with a significant Covid-19 case decline.