St. Vincent Kokomo diverts patients as visits surge

Sep. 10—Ascension St. Vincent Kokomo says it has periodically gone on diversion over the last few days, with non-emergency patients being sent elsewhere, as hospitalizations due to COVID continue to spike around the state.

Miranda Meister, a spokesperson for Ascension St. Vincent, said diversion status can change frequently, but has been issued periodically in Kokomo due to "a notable increase in hospital visits."

She did not say whether the increase in visits was due to COVID infections.

St. Vincent's patient diversions come after Community Howard Regional Health last Thursday also asked emergency services to divert bringing people to the hospital due in part to the high number of COVID-19 patients.

Hospital officials said that due to the high patient census there, the facility went on a temporary diversion, asking EMS services to choose an alternate hospital when possible for patients who don't require immediate emergency care.

On Friday, nearly half of all ICU beds were being used by COVID patients in a 13 county region that includes Howard County, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. when taking into account ICU beds in use for non-COVID patients, the district has just 17% ICU beds available.

The district had 334 people hospitalized with the virus, marking the highest rate since December. Nearly all new cases are the delta variant, according to the state.

Meister said even with the spike in patient visits, Ascension St. Vincent "remains committed to helping all who need it."

"Patients should be assured that when they come through our doors, they will get the care that they need," she said. "In a true medical emergency, it's important to seek care immediately."

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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