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STATE WIDE–The number of people in the hospital with the Omicron variant of coronavirus may have peaked. IU Health, the state’s largest hospital system held a virtual news conference Thursday. The state Dept. of Health reported 200 fewer Hoosiers were in the hospital Thursday, compared to Wednesday.

But, IU Health reported 274 people have died in its hospitals so far in January, the highest number since Dec. 2020.

“IU Health, across our system, is now at 567 COVID-positive patients inside our hospitals. Across our 16 hospitals today, I believe 27 of those are at Riley Children’s Hospital,” said Chris Weaver, vice president and chief clinical officer.

That’s down from a peak of 640.

About 70 percent of those patients are unvaccinated. The number is higher for people in intensive care.

The hospital system still has a staffing shortage and that means you will be affected with longer wait times and there may be some services you won’t be able to get immediately.

“Because the cases of omicron is declining, so is our number of staff that are quarantining, but that still doesn’t get us to normal staffing patterns that we’d like to be at,” said Dr. Michelle Sessana, chief quality and safety officer.

Hundreds of elective surgeries have been put off because of staffinf shortages. But, those may resume next week. The availability of doctors depends on the hospital.

“We’re going to have to start slowly because we have a significant COVID burden. Plus remember, a lot of our surgery people are home with COVID right now,” said Paul Calkins, associate chief medical executive. The microchip shortage may also mean a delay in hospitals being able to get some medical equipment.