Cleveland Clinic nearing capacity due to surge of unvaccinated patients

Cleveland Clinic
Posted at 1:37 PM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 16:45:21-05

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Clinic announced Tuesday that it is nearing hospital bed capacity due to the sheer number of unvaccinated individuals contracting COVID-19.

There are 786 COVID-positive Cleveland Clinic patients who have been hospitalized and 218 patients with COVID in the ICU, the hospital said. It's the highest number of patients hospitalized since the start of the pandemic. Cleveland Clinic said the majority of those in the hospital right now are unvaccinated.

"This has really been pretty busy throughout much of the last 21 months or so," said Pulmonary and Critical Care Dr. Joseph Khabbaza from the Cleveland Clinic. "But really this last month or so we're really seeing levels, especially in our intensive care unit...we really have not seen since last December-January when things were at their worst."

Khabbaza says every ICU bed that can be safely staffed is full right now, and some patients are receiving critical care in the emergency room until space is available.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, 9,922 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Tuesday, but that also included back-logged cases. Nearly 1.8 million people in Ohio have contracted the disease. ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff told News 5 the arrival of a vaccine was a true turning point in the pandemic.

"The vast majority of people who are vaccinated and up to date with their vaccines are in fact very well protected against severe disease, including hospitalization and death," he said.

Dr. Vanderhoff cautioned that the best strategy for convincing vaccine hold-outs is to treat them respectfully and address their concerns with the facts. And, he says, Ohioans are still coming around on vaccines.

"Month over month we continue to see more and more people in Ohio starting their vaccination series. So that means that every month more people are choosing to come off the sidelines and protect themselves and the people they love with that vaccine." He believes

The ODH reported 555 new hospitalizations Tuesday, with 65 ICU admissions across the state. There are currently 4,758 COVID-19 patients in Ohio's hospitals and 1,172 COVID-19 patients in the ICU.

Statewide, non-COVID patients are currently occupying 63.6% of the state's hospital beds, according to ODH. COVID-positive patients account for 18.1%, leaving 18.3% of beds currently available. COVID patients make up 24.98% of the state's ICU beds, non-COVID patients are occupying 57.67% of ICU beds, and 17.35% of ICU beds are currently open.

In total, more than 90,000 people have been hospitalized and more than 11,000 have been admitted to the ICU since the pandemic began. A total of 27,371 people in Ohio have died from COVID-19.

COVID-19 statistics for Tuesday were higher than average due to a backlog in cases.

"As a result of a laboratory reporting backlog, the 24-hour daily case counts change will be artificially inflated on Dec. 14, 15, and 16. The exact number will be reflected in a disclaimer on the dashboard each day, and will not be finalized until all laboratory files are processed," the ODH said. "The backlog of approximately 7,699 positive COVID-19 tests was caused by manual reporting errors at two laboratories. The backlog includes both new cases and updated information for cases that were previously recorded. The files are being processed and will be assigned the appropriate illness onset date; however, the 24-hour daily case change will be increased on Dec. 14, 15, and 16 as the files are processed. The positive COVID-19 test results are from a period of March 7, 2021, through Dec. 3, 2021."

The ODH said the issue that caused the backlog has been resolved.

RELATED: Omicron variant detected in Ohio, state health department says

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