DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – As COVID-19 cases continue to rise and other winter illnesses also demand medical attention, hospitals in the Miami Valley are feeling overwhelmed.

At Miami Valley Hospital, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roberto Colon said their current situation isn’t great. “There are more patients than beds that we are expecting a lot of the time, and that leads to unfortunately a lot of wait times,” said Dr. Colon.

Dr. Colon said that 15 to 25 percent of their current patients are being treated for COVID related issues, and the majority of that number is unvaccinated. Another area hit hard is the emergency department.

“What we’re having to do is adjust our operations. We’ve been hearing from places all over the country that they’ve been having to do this for some time. We’re catching up to some of those volumes pretty quickly,” said Dr. Colon.

Over at Kettering Health, emergency physician Dr. Nancy Pook also said she and her team are dealing with over capacity. “We’re seeing extremely high volumes day and night throughout the 24 hours. It results in people waiting sometimes to even get in to the emergency department,” said Dr. Pook.

Dr. Pook is encouraging people who can be seen at other urgent care clinics or by a family physician to do so, that way the emergency rooms can be freed up for people with higher risk complications. “We wanna be able to be there at the door for people with strokes and heart attacks. So, we need to be cognizant of that as we protect our community,” said Dr. Pook.

Dr. Colon also has more suggestions for people to help slow overwhelming hospital demands. “We still can influence the next several weeks and months. By doing the right things, by getting everybody vaccinated, by getting those boosters. By wearing the masks and avoiding those large gatherings,” said Dr. Colon.

Many people heading into the emergency room at both Kettering Health and Miami Valley Hospital are also waiting extensive periods of time for COVID-19 tests, even if they’re not showing symptoms. Dr. Colon encourages people to find those tests elsewhere too in order to lower wait times at hospitals.