COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) — Several notable Ohio doctors and healthcare professionals took to the airwaves during Governor Mike DeWine’s Monday briefing to lay out how rapidly the state’s hospitals are filling with COVID-19 patients.
“The growth in hospitalizations is exponential. We’re not planning for the surge — the surge is here. We’re approaching the point where the influx of COVID patients will displace non-COVID care,” said Dr. Richard Lofgren, president and CEO of UC Health.
Lofgren said that healthcare systems are responding as the surge increases but he said that hospitals will have to make some tough decision about how to triage and take care of other patients.
Ohio has seen a 59% increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in just two weeks. That’s nearly 4,500 people, with over 1,000 of those patients in the ICU.
“In the next few weeks, every hospital in the state is going to have to make tough decisions about how it will staff its beds, what elective procedures they’ll have to postpone, even potentially postponing ambulatory and outpatient office visits,” said Dr. Andy Thomas of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
According to Ronda Lehman, president of Mercy Health’s Lima market, the inpatient side of her hospitals are filling up faster than they can discharge patients. The end result of this would be a lack of beds for incoming sick patients, regardless of whether they had the coronavirus.
Dr. Robert Wyllie said that 970 caregivers at the Cleveland Clinic, where he practices, are currently out because they’re either in quarantine or actively have COVID-19. He said they know these frontline workers aren’t getting the virus in the hospital, so it means they picked it up in the community.
“Because of this, we have to take those who would have been doing elective surgeries and staff them instead in inpatient care. We need your help to prevent our caregivers from being sick and off work,” said Wyllie.
Just as many school districts are battling staffing issues, hospital leadership from across the state are concerned that they won’t have enough people to aid the sick if we cannot tamp down the infection rate in Ohio.
Each person that spoke during DeWine’s Monday briefing urged Ohioans to be mindful of their Thanksgiving plans. This upcoming holiday weekends impact on the infection rates won’t be know for roughly a week.
“We can’t sound the alarm bell loud enough for people in Ohio to change their behavior. With Thanksgiving coming up, keep within your bubble. If you have family coming over, hopefully they’ve been quarantining for 14 days,” said Thomas.
To review more of the state’s data on current COVID-19 trends, click here.