When working with COVID-19 patients at Ball Memorial, team members wear several items of PPE, including N-95 face masks,  regular mask and face shields. Photo by Courtney Schmoll, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital
When working with COVID-19 patients at Ball Memorial, team members wear several items of PPE, including N-95 face masks, regular mask and face shields. Photo by Courtney Schmoll, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital
MUNCIE — For 18 months, frontline healthcare workers at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital have battled COVID-19. While the community tries to get back to some sort of normal, it couldn't be any different inside hospital walls.

While there were maybe only a handful of daily COVID-19 cases in July, Ball Memorial once again experienced a spike in cases just a few weeks ago, with Jeffrey Bird, president of IU Health East Central Region, calling it "full crisis mode."

At one point in mid-September, the hospital had 104 COVID-19 positive patients, which beat out last winter's record of 90 patients.

"Any time you're dealing with something like this for 18 months, it gets really easy to shake your head and wonder how you're doing it," Bird said. "But, you know, it's almost like it appears to be business as usual. The community needs to understand it's not business as usual."

More: Muncie, Richmond, Lafayette hospitals seeing continued COVID-19 patient increase

Things have calmed down slightly, and on Sept. 28, Bird told The Star Press the hospital was treating about 66 COVID-19 patients. However, the delta variant has caused symptoms of the illness to be worse.

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