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Healthcare leaders: COVID is crowding hospitals

Medical experts who spoke at Governor DeWine’s Thursday briefing explain how the crisis is overwhelming healthcare facilities
Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 10:40 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Healthcare professionals who spoke at Governor Mike DeWine’s Thursday afternoon briefing agreed that if the spread of COVID-19 cases continues the way it’s going, hospitals will not be able to sustain their current options for care.

“This is not the beginning of the end or even the end of the beginning,” said Dr. Andy Thomas, chief clinical officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “We’re just now heading into the most challenging three months of the pandemic. ICU beds are an area of capacity where we have the biggest strain across the state, especially in rural areas.”

Dr. Mike Lemon, the Medical Director of Wood County Hospital spoke more to this, telling 13abc how staffing is still a struggle as well, with doctors and nurses having to quarantine.

“At this point, we can serve our community as we have for many many years,” Dr. Lemon said, “but it’s very easy if a small percentage of people cause a large amount of infections to really give us all that we can handle as a smaller hospital.”

Larger area health systems like ProMedica are still catching up with more elective surgeries from the previous shutdown, with some facilities already scaling back on some of those procedures on an individual basis.

Medical Director Dr. Brian Kaminski says they want to avoid drawing a line in the sand and canceling all non-emergency care like back in March.

“We’d rather, with the experience that we’ve gained be able to selectively decide which ones are absolutely necessary and should continue based on the resources that we have, and which ones can actually wait a longer period of time to be done later,” said Kaminski.

Again, medical professionals are pleading with people to keep their circles small and continue wearing a mask whenever you are around people outside your own household.

“The bottom line is that non-COVID patients are being crowded out of the system and won’t be able to get the care they need to stay healthy,” said Dr. Nora Colburn, associate medical director for clinical epidemiology at OSU Wexner Medical Center. “We all must do our part to stop the spread of the virus.”

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