Ohio COVID hospitalizations continue to rise

Staff Report - galnews@aimmediamidwest.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio’s coronavirus hospitalizations have hit an all-time high at 5,060 people hospitalized with the coronavirus across the state as compared to just under 1,700 COVID-19 patients on Nov. 1.

Gov. Mike DeWine held a special briefing on Monday.

Of Ohio’s currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients, there are 1,180 individuals in intensive care units and 682 people are on ventilators.

According to Dr. Andy Thomas, chief clinical officer at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, one-third of ICU patients across Ohio have COVID-19 and one-third of individuals on ventilators have it.

“COVID patients are going to start crowding out other people who need that level of care as these numbers continue to rise,” Thomas said. “The reality is that hospitals are making difficult decisions about delaying care. It may be non-urgent care, but it’s care that may cause someone to go to the ICU after surgery. A lot of hospitals are delaying those surgeries because they can’t afford their ICUs to be overtaxed.”

Thomas said that rural areas are being hit particularly hard right now, and several hospitals are beginning to voice concerns about their ability to manage such a high number of intensive care patients. As the total number of COVID-19 patients grows, smaller community hospitals will be unable to expand their intensive care capacity.

For individuals who traveled over Thanksgiving, Thomas urged them to quarantine upon return to Ohio to break any possible chain of transmission.

DeWine on Wednesday announced a new program to help improve indoor air quality and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 at senior living facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living centers, and adult day centers.

The $28 million program was created using federal CARES Act funding to address indoor air quality through HVAC inspections, portable air filtration systems, new filtration systems, maintenance on current systems, and other interventions. Eligible recipients can receive up to $15,000.

“As we move into colder months and spend more time inside, proper ventilation and filtration are even more important to stop the spread of COVID-19,” DeWine said.

The program was approved by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Board of Directors at a special meeting Wednesday. BWC will administer the program and applications are available at bwc.ohio.gov. Additional questions about the program should be emailed to grants@bwc.state.oh.us.

Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Ohio, DeWine has delayed Ohio’s plan to resume in-person work at state-owned facilities. A gradual, phased approach was expected to begin in January. eWine also encouraged other employers to allow employees to work at home to the extent possible.

During Monday’s briefing, DeWine was joined by four nurses who discussed their experiences treating patients with coronavirus.

Carrie Watkins, assistant director for nursing at Genacross Lutheran Services in Holland, discussed the surge in cases that are experienced in nursing homes each time there is a surge in community spread.


Staff Report