Franciscan Health has canceled its annual Love Lights Tree Blessing this weekend over rising coronavirus rates across the community and state.
The Love Lights Tree Blessing was supposed to take place Sunday in the lobby of Franciscan Health Michigan City at 3500 Franciscan Way just north of Interstate 94. People donate to sponsor lights on the hospital's Christmas tree to honor or remember loved ones while helping fund health care services and community outreach activities.
The Love Lights Shine Again ceremony typically features live music, prayers and Christmas carols before the Love Lights are lit during a public ceremony.
Franciscan said it was concerned with the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the community. The Indiana Hospital Association, Indiana State Medical Association and Indiana State Nurses Association warned that coronavirus hospitalizations have risen 66% in the past three weeks and are headed toward the Hoosier state's all-time record of 3,460 COVID-19 hospitalizations from November 2020. More than 2,240 Hoosiers were hospitalized with the virus Tuesday, a 69% increase over three weeks prior, while diagnoses were up 113% over the same period to 6,164.
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The statewide medical organization warned infections among the unvaccinated may prevent health care providers from treating everyone in the coming months.
Franciscan Health said given the surge in cases and hospitalizations the live event would have to be put off this year.
"All names that have been submitted will still be published in the La Porte County Herald-Dispatch and remembered in prayer," Franciscan Health said in a press release.