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Ohio Hospital Association concerned about rising COVID hospitalizations

Hospital Hallway
Posted at 11:05 PM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 23:08:41-04

Ohio reported more than 9,000 new COVID-19 cases Friday.

It's a number the state hasn’t seen since last winter at Ohio's previous peak, and it's not just new cases--the numbers are also going the wrong way when it comes to hospitalizations and intensive care admissions.

The Ohio Hospital Association said as of this week about 40% of Ohio hospitals are reporting staffing shortages.

It said that combined with the rising number of COVID-19 hospitalizations is putting even more strain on health care workers, and putting Ohio on a very concerning path at this stage in the pandemic.

“Hospitals are working hard 24/7, but it's definitely—it's starting to take a toll on us,” said John Palmer, the director of public affairs for the Ohio Hospital Association.

That workload for hospital staff is only increasing as the weeks go by.

Data from the OHA shows hospitalizations are on the rise again with 3,234 people currently hospitalized as of Friday. That’s up from a low of 200 earlier this summer.

“It’s concerning because of what has led to where we're at today with the Delta variant becoming more dominant and causing more spread. And that has resulted in the rise,” said Palmer.

Palmer said COVID hospitalizations have increased across all age groups in Ohio, and the bulk are among the unvaccinated.

“It's obviously creating a significant strain on hospital resources, particularly staffing,” said Palmer.

Palmer said the added weight from more COVID-19 patients is spreading hospital workers even thinner, especially when they’re trying to meet other demands for health care like heart attacks, strokes, and trauma cases.

On top of that, he said there’s a labor shortage and frustration.

“Frustration just with the fact that we have vaccines that we know work and that we know are effective and can prevent hospitalizations,” said Palmer.

Now, there are worries about what the consequences could be.

Back in December, Ohio COVID-19 hospitalizations peaked at 5,308.

“When we had that occurring in the state, you did see a lot of hospitals and health systems postponed elective surgeries, rescheduling surgeries, rescheduling surgeries to accommodate that influx of patients that were COVID-19 positive,” said Palmer.

Palmer said we’re not quite there yet, but it's getting close.

“Some hospitals have already implemented changes with elective surgeries and procedures,” said Palmer.

Now, he’s hoping to see some changes before things get worse.

“We're really hoping that Ohioans pay attention to really, where things are starting to look for for the state,” said Palmer.

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

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