Health officials sounding alarm about rise in hospitalizations, staff shortages

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Ohio Department of Health is sounding the alarm about the growing number of COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state.

On Friday, ODH reported 620 new ICU admissions and 365 people on ventilators. Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, ODH health director, said Ohio’s cases per 100,000 averaged per two weeks now sit at well over 300.

During a news conference, health officials said the real concern is that state hospitals are busier than ever.

“Statewide about 1 in 10 patients in our hospitals are there with covid-19. And about 1 in 6 patients in the ICU are battling COVID-19,” Vanderhoff said.

In early July, hospitalizations and ICU admissions were relatively stable with the number of hospitalized patients at about 200, with 60-70 patients in the ICU, and 40-50 patients on ventilators.

In just over a month, that count has grown dramatically. Health officials hospitals in the Miami Valley said hospitals here are not at a critical stage yet, but they could be soon.

Charles Patterson, the health commissioner for Clark County Combined Health District said, “the biggest concern is that our hospitals just won’t be able to keep up. They’re doing everything they can.”

“If the numbers don’t stop, at some point, every hospital has a maximum capacity and at some point every hospital can become overwhelmed,” said Dr. Roberto Colon, chief medical officer for Miami Valley Hospital.

As the more contagious delta variant causes more coronavirus infections among the unvaccinated, it has also started to send more people to the hospital straining health care workers.

“ICU workers, emergency workers, and floor workers in hospitals are already tired from last year and here we go again,” Patterson said.

Doctors said the uptick is something everyone should be concerned about. They said it’s time to start being a little bit more careful about going out in public and in groups.

“It isn’t just hospitals that have to work to keep doors open. It really is going to be everybody in the community that is going to help prevent that,” Dr. Colon said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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