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Ohio hospitals struggling as cases decline

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 11:11 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Ohio’s chief medical officer is warning that Ohio hospitals are still overloaded with COVID-19 patients even as the latest Delta variant surge plateaus.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said while overall coronavirus cases are declining, the Ohio Department of Health is still recording a high number of hospitalizations. ODH reported 323 new hospitalizations on Wednesday, but at the same time last year, that number was 123.

Coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths are a lagging indicator so we may not know the full impact of this latest surge for quite some time. Vanderhoff said what we do know, however, is it is too early to claim victory over COVID-19.

“The situation in our hospitals remains serious,” Vanderhoff said.

The Ohio Hospital Association reports that 1 in 6 people hospitalized in Ohio is COVID-19 positive. 1 in 4 people in an intensive care unit is COVID-19 positive.

The Chief Clinical Officer of Adena Health System, Dr. Kirk Tucker, said the Delta variant wave caused nearly a doubling of urgent care volumes in all of its locations.

“We’ve had to divert nursing staff from non-clinical areas of the hospital from areas such as quality, over back in-patient duties, we’ve asked primary care physicians and nurse practitioners to serve on the front lines in urgent care settings,” said Tucker. “We’re really reaching in all directions to try to make small, incremental improvements in our ability to handle the capacity.”

Vanderhoff said getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best thing Ohioans can do to protect themselves and others as the virus continues to mutate.

“When more Ohioans are vaccinated, it lessens the opportunity for dangerous variants to take hold and helps us on our path to gaining control over this pandemic,” Vanderhoff said.

ODH said health officials are detecting flu activity in the state and reminded the public you can catch the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

“Now is not the time to let up,” Vanderhoff said. “We have to remain vigilant. We all have to continue to do our part to stay healthy and this includes, of course, choosing to be vaccinated.”

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