Officials warn what rising COVID-19 cases could mean for hospitals, public

Officials discuss rising COVID-19 cases impact on hospitals

COLUMBUS, Ohio (FOX19) - Leaders with the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) are sounding the alarm on what the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations could mean for the staff and public.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) reported 4,706 new COVID-19 cases on Monday. Over the past 21 days, Ohio is averaging 3,398 cases a day.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer at Ohio Health, explains the increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are unprecedented.

While Ohio is better equipped with PPE now than in March, he said the rise in cases leads to increasing demand for hospital staffing.

Officials said on Monday hospital staffs are already exhausted and being stretched thin.

If the COVID-19 spread doesn’t get under control, Vanderhoff explained this would result in a lack of care for the acutely ill.

This shift in care could happen in a matter of weeks at the rate COVID-19 cases are increasing in Ohio, according to Vanderhoff.

Dr. Richard Lofgren, University of Cincinnati Health President and CEO, says the number of hospitalizations is doubling every three weeks.

There are currently more than 2,500 hospitalizations statewide, which is up from 2,000 on Thursday, according to the state’s data. The ODH on Monday reported 154 new hospitalizations over the last 24 hours.

In the southwest zone of Ohio, Lofgren said as of Monday, there are 670 patients in the hospital with COVID-19.

The previous peak for the area was 300 patients in July, Lofgren explained.

The rate of new hospitalizations could get worse Lofgren added.

Lofgren said the southwest area could have 1,500 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 by Thanksgiving if the doubling rate of every three weeks increases.

To get these numbers back under control, Lofgren and the other health officials said Ohioans must get back to the basic principles.

Wearing a mask, social distancing, washing hands, and not expanding personal bubbles will help bring the COVID-19 spread under control, the officials stated.

The announcement from Pfizer Inc. on Monday about a COVID-19 vaccine showing some promising effectiveness is better than what one Ohio hospital official said they expected.

Pfizer says their vaccine is 90% effective.

Dr. Robert Wyllie from the Cleveland Clinic said the initial hope was for a vaccine to be 70-75% effective.

So, the news from Pfizer on Monday is a bright spot.

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