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Hospitals feel the strain from COVID increase

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 5:38 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The importance of slowing the COVID-19 spread was made clear Monday because of the increasing stress the illness is putting on Ohio’s hospital systems.

More than 11,000 new cases reported in the last 24 hours but leaders say that’s because of a processing backlog. The number had been averaging around 8000 a day. As cases rise, so do the infection and quarantine rates for hospital workers and care givers.

The increase of hospitalizations is really alarming. It’s up about 60% from just 2 weeks ago. The question now is how much more can these hospitals and their staffs take.

As of Monday afternoon, Ohio had 4358 hospitalized COVID patients. On September 23rd that number was about 600.

“As cases go like this, hospitalizations track right behind it. Until we see cases peak and go down in a sustained way we’re going to see hospitalizations rise,” said Dr. Andy Thomas of OSU’s Wexner Medical Center.

Medical staffs have been hit hard too. The Cleveland Clinic system has 970 caregivers either infected or in quarantine.

“They’re not getting it in the hospitals. Our caregivers are getting COVID and acquiring it in the community. They parallel the community spread. So as the community rates of positivity go up, the number of caregivers who have COVID have gone up,” said Dr. Robert Wyllie of the Cleveland Clinic.

We’re also learning that not only are hospitals transferring patients within their own systems but now transferring them to different systems in each region.

“In the next few weeks we all, every hospital in the state, is going to have to start making tough decisions about how it will staff its beds about what kind of elective, non-emergent things it’s going to have to postpone,” said Dr. Thomas.

“The number pf patients that are presenting and need hospitalization are coming in at a faster rate than we are discharging them and I think that’s something people can wrap their hands around,” said Dr. Rhonda Lehman of Mercy Health .

13abc asked local health systems what they are seeing.

In the ProMedica system their COVID numbers have tripled in the last three weeks. About one third of those patients are in the ICU.

Mercy Health didn’t give us specifics only saying they too are seeing increases and that the numbers of affected patients and staff fluctuate rapidly.

Wood County hospital is seeing is 3-5 daily COVID patients. Monday they were at 5 patients. We’re told about a month ago that number would have been between zero and 2.

At Firelands Regional Medical center in Sandusky they’re treating 44 COVID patients right now. That number was 8 exactly one month ago.

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