A Tippecanoe Emergency Ambulance Service vehicle arrives at IU Health Arnett on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in Lafayette. Staff photo by Nikos Frazier
A Tippecanoe Emergency Ambulance Service vehicle arrives at IU Health Arnett on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 in Lafayette. Staff photo by Nikos Frazier
LAFAYETTE — The crushing weight of increased COVID-19 cases has pushed Greater Lafayette hospitals to a "breaking point," as described by top doctors at each Lafayette facility, where capacity remains at or near full on any given day.

During a teleconference Thursday morning, Dr. James Bien from IU Health Arnett and Dr. Daniel Wickert from Franciscan Health Lafayette hospitals described stressed and strained systems.

The teleconference came a day after meeting with a collection of elected officials, where they detailed the continued and increasingly dire situation.

As of Thursday, the Indiana State Department of Health reported Tippecanoe County has had 25,609 positive cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started March 2020, with 237 deaths; 78 new cases were reported Thursday, with 464 individuals tested in the 24-hour period.

The system is so strained, the hospitals regularly decide which can take on the next ambulance run and which facility needs a break. Patients wait in the emergency rooms for hours and hours. Nurses work extra shifts and, in some instances, proclaim they just can't bear to spend another shift at another COVID-19 patient's bedside.

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