CLEVELAND — Health care leaders from Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth Medical Center and University Hospitals came together in a joint briefing to discuss their concerns as the number of daily COVID-19 cases continues to rise across the state.
Each hospital addressed the number of patients hospitalized and stressed that spread of COVID-19 isn't happening in the workplace, but in the community. All three leaders stressed the importance of going back to the basic, wearing a mask and social distancing because they work.
"It would be a real tragedy to experience a substantial loss of life right as we are announcing a breakthrough, excellent news, of new vaccines," said Tom Mihaljevic, president and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic.
The Cleveland Clinic
As of Monday, 450 beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, which translates to around 8 to 9% of the clinic's overall capacity.
Mihaljevic said the vast majority of patients hospitalized are not hospitalized because of COVID-19.
"We are really worried about the trend. This is twice as many patients as we had at the first peak of the pandemic in March and April," Mihaljevic said.
Mihaljevic said the clinic is averaging 60 COVID-19 positive patients into area hospitals every day.
"If we continue at the rate we are going, our hospitals will be overwhelmed. Across our region, we have enough beds and supplies to care for our patients. Our concern is our caregivers. We need everyone to do their part to protect the healthcare workforce as we navigate through this pandemic," he said.
There are currently 800 caregivers throughout the Cleveland Clinic hospitals that are out due to either testing positive for COVID-19 or due to the need to quarantine.
"Never before have we had this many caregivers out of work sick,” Mihaljevic said.
MetroHealth Medical Center
Akram Boutros, president and CEO of MetroHealth, said in the past week the number of calls to the COVID-19 hotline was the highest it has been since the start of the pandemic in March, meaning more people are getting infected.
There are 60 caregivers out due to COVID-19.
Boutros said contact tracing shows caregivers are getting infected outside of work.
“They get it from a child, cousin, somebody they went to a restaurant with, somebody they went to the gym with,” Boutros said.
"If we have many of our staff out because of exposure while there is a large influx of COVID patients, we will not be able to provide the best care to everyone who needs it," Boutros said.
MetroHealth is currently at around 80% capacity.
University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center
Cliff Megerian, president of University Hospitals, said there are approximately 200 in-patients with COVID-19, which is about 9% of the hospital's beds. Overall capacity is running between 83% and 84%.
"We have room, god forbid we need more room," Megerian said.
University Hospitals is expecting to reach about 800 patients, which would be around 45% of total bed capacity. At that point, Megerian said they would need to rationalize where patients would be moved.
"Despite the potential good news of a series of vaccines. Before there is a vaccine, we have a bunch of crucial months over the holidays when people will be gathering. I think, make no mistake, we want to make sure people listening understand and that we believe our hospitals are safe," he said.
There are about 200 or so caregivers sidelined with the virus, Megerian said.
"Often time the caregivers are getting the virus through community spread and the patients coming to us are getting it through community spread rather than spreading it in our facilities," he said.
Megerian stresses the public should not loosen their vigilance as now is the time to protect caregivers, family and friends.
"If we average the increase over the last month, we could see ourselves by Christmas time getting up to 800 patients which would be a 4-fold increase in patients in-house that we are seeing. Obviously, we are hoping that doesn’t happen. We hope clear heads prevail, "Megerian said.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.
Rebound Northeast Ohio News 5's initiative to help people through the financial impact of the coronavirus by offering one place to go for information on everything available to help and how to access it. We're providing resources on:
Getting Back to Work - Learn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.
Making Ends Meet - Find help on topics from rent to food to new belt-tightening techniques.
Managing the Stress - Feeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.
Doing What's Right - Keep track of the way people are spending your tax dollars and treating your community.
We're Open! Northeast Ohio is place created by News 5 to open us up to new ways of thinking, new ways of gathering and new ways of supporting each other.
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Ohio, a timeline of Governor Mike DeWine's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Northeast Ohio, and link to more information from the Ohio Department of Health, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the CDC and the WHO.
See data visualizations showing the impact of coronavirus in Ohio, including county-by-county maps, charts showing the spread of the disease, and more.
The CDC and the Ohio Department of Health are now recommending the use of cloth face coverings in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.