A sign for Franciscan Health Lafayette East hospital sits at the corner of Creasy Lane and St. Francis Way warning, "Stop No Visitors Patients Only," Monday, March 23, 2020 in Lafayette. (Photo: Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courier)
A sign for Franciscan Health Lafayette East hospital sits at the corner of Creasy Lane and St. Francis Way warning, "Stop No Visitors Patients Only," Monday, March 23, 2020 in Lafayette. (Photo: Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courier)

LAFAYETTE – Gov. Eric Holcomb’s stay-at-home order – a sweeping mandate Monday meant to limit face-to-face interaction to keep the spread of the coronavirus to a minimum during this pandemic – came with explicit plea to do everything possible not to inundate Indiana’s hospitals.

“It’s growing, not slowing,” Holcomb said in a noontime, statewide address. In it, he referenced the speed the coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19, was taxing medical systems in other states, including New York, hit earlier and harder than Indiana.


“Their hospitals are being overrun,” Holcomb said. “That’s what we’re trying to manage and avoid, which is why we need to slow the spread – now.”

So, how are Greater Lafayette’s hospitals – in a county where three of the state’s 259 confirmed cases, as of Monday morning – preparing for the potential surge in patients the governor is predicting? And do they have enough room?

At Franciscan Health East

A tent from Lafayette Tent and Awning went up next to the emergency department entrance over the weekend, as the hospital on Creasy Lane looked to add space for patients.

The tent, one with sides, was equipped heaters and was ready to go, if and when needed, Lisa Decker, vice president of communications for Franciscan’s hospitals in Lafayette, Crawfordsville and Rensselaer. The hospital also was aggressive with a no-visitors policy implemented a week early and reinforced by yard signs lining its lawns and a lighted traffic billboard at its main entrance.

“We are looking at every single area inside the hospital and preparing those areas in the event we have a surge,” Decker said. “We have tent – which is not currently in use – and the ability to ramp that up if the need happens. We’d try to do all we can to take care of people out there to keep them from coming in the hospital.”

Copyright © 2020 www.jconline.com