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.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Download the News 5 app for free to easily access local coronavirus coverage, and to receive timely and limited news alerts on major COVID-19 developments. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.
Vaccinating Ohio - Find the latest news on the COVID-19 vaccines, Ohio's phased vaccination process, a map of vaccination clinics around the state, and links to sign up for a vaccination appointment through Ohio's online portal.
See data visualizations showing the impact of coronavirus in Ohio, including county-by-county maps, charts showing the spread of the disease, and more.
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.
View a map of COVID-19 testing locations here.
Visit Ohio's Coronavirus website for the latest updates from the Ohio Department of Health.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.