COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said Thursday he sees “light at the end of the tunnel” as the omicron COVID-19 wave subsides in most areas of the state, but its current severity depends on where you live.
“We’re cautiously optimistic that we may be reaching the other side and beginning to head down from this peak as we head into the month of February,” Vanderhoff said Thursday in what has become a weekly appearance.
Omicron realized its damaging potential in Ohio first in the Cleveland and Akron areas about a month ago. After record-breaking cases and hospitalizations in late December and early January, however, the wave is starting to improve.
“Statewide hospitalizations reached a pandemic high earlier this month and have been steadily dropping for the last 16 days,” Vanderhoff said, noting a 25% drop since Jan. 10.
On Wednesday, the state reported more than 20,000 cases after backlogged data was cleared, but there are now fewer than 5,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state.
That doesn’t mean hospitals are not still strained, Vanderhoff noted, as beds are in tight supply, many hospitals are still postponing elective surgeries and the Ohio National Guard remains active.
“Omicron is hitting Ohio in waves,” he said, “and right now, Southeast Ohio, Southern Ohio and the Dayton area are seeing increases in hospitalizations. So, have we reached our omicron peak? Well, it’s a yes and no, depending on where you live.”
Vanderhoff was joined by hospital officials Dr. Brian Kaminski (ProMedica) and Dr. Stephen Feagins (Mercy Health) to discuss what they are seeing in northwestern and southwestern Ohio, respectively. Watch the full press conference in the video player above.
The latest COVID-19 numbers in the state are scheduled to be released at 2 p.m. Thursday.