MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WDTN) – Medical experts say the quick spread of the Delta variant is leading to a rapid increase in COVID hospitalizations again. Dr. Jeffrey Weinstein, patient safety officer at Kettering Health says hospitalization trends increase usually about a week after COVID case numbers increase.

He says over the last two weeks, Kettering Health Hospitals have gone from seeing a low number of COVID patients, to a moderate number, and they are expanding some of their COVID wards.

“We are very worried,” he said. “If you look at parts of the country. you’re seeing hospitals fill up again and it is extremely stressful on the staff.

Dr. Weinstein says he is seeing a key difference in the patients that he’s seeing in the hospital now.

“Last winter, the average age was 80. Now, we’re seeing average ages in the mid- to upper 40s,” he said.

The latest coronavirus data shows that Ohio has a 30 percent capacity of ICU beds available. Dr. Weinstein says as people continue to stay unvaccinated, there’s a likelihood that COVID-19 could continue to mutate and become resistant to vaccines.

“The concern is [that] as this goes on, we’re going to start seeing strains that are not prevented by the vaccine and then we’ll be in real trouble,” warned Dr. Weinstein.

But for now, he is encouraged that most healthcare workers are vaccinated which offers them more protection than last winter when hospitals were overwhelmed with patients.

“We’ve been through this now for almost a year and a half,” he said. “So there’s a lot of policies and procedures that we’ve pretty much got down pat in terms of isolation, personal protective equipment [and] how to keep our staff [and patients] safe,” said Dr. Weinstein.