Ohio Department of Health officials raising alarm about surging COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations

Hospital Hallway
Posted at 5:06 PM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-09 19:09:18-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health is sounding the alarm about the surging number of COVID-19 cases and very high rates of hospitalizations.

Officials said that surge is putting a dangerous strain on hospitals and healthcare facilities statewide.

At a press conference Thursday, ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff discussed his concerns with other medical professionals throughout the state.

The latest numbers from ODH report 4,297 patients are in the hospital with COVID-19 – a 29% increase over the last two weeks. There were 1,100 patients are in the ICU, which is an 18% increase.

Vanderhoff said the last time the state saw numbers like this was last December and January.

“Now, the current surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations is simply putting a dangerous strain on the state's health care infrastructure. We are yet again in a serious situation, every bit as serious as last December and January. Hospitals are being severely strained,” said Vanderhoff.

ODH data over the last two weeks shows that on average, about 62% of all newly reported hospitalizations happened in the northern part of the state.

Also, the department’s data found that hospitalization rates are 35-40% percent higher in counties that fall below the statewide vaccination rate, while death rates are up to 94% higher in those counties.

It's concerning for state health officials who say the numbers we’re seeing now are on par with where we were last year before vaccines were widely available.

“When our hospitals are stressed to this degree, it strains their resources to care for other patients needing regular or emergency care,” said Vanderhoff. “As a result of the incredible volumes hitting our hospitals every day, our hospitals are having to make very difficult decisions and implement contingencies to cope with the volume and to deliver care to those most in need.”

ODH officials say in addition to measures like masking and social distancing, getting vaccinated is the key to making sure hospitals don’t get overwhelmed.

Right now, Vanderhoff said about 95% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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