COLUMBUS, OH (WOWK) – Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says the number of Ohioans in the hospital fighting COVID-19 is continuing to increase.
As of 2 p.m. today, Monday, Nov. 23, the governor says 4,358 patients are in the hospital. That’s a 59% increase from just two weeks ago, and 282 of those patients have been admitted within the past 24 hours. DeWine says 1079 patients are in the ICU.
The governor’s conversation with health officials from across the state comes as Ohio breaks another record of daily COVID-19 cases reported and the first day the daily total has surpassed 10,000, with 11,885 new cases in the past 24 hours. The Ohio Department of Health also says 24 more Ohioans have died due to COVID-19.
The new totals bring the state to 363,304 reported cases, 24,705 total hospitalizations and 6,020 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
According to Robert Wyllie, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic, the state has gone from 600 hospitalized COVID-19 patients to more than 4,000 in just over 60 days.
Wyllie says at the Cleveland Clinic, 970 caregivers are currently out on quarantine or with an active COVID-19 infection. He says caregivers are contracting COVID-19 in the community and this is by far the highest number of caregivers out due to the virus by “several-fold.”
The clinic has started to close some services to accommodate for the number of workers out of the hospital, moving staff from those services back to the hospital floors, according to Wyllie. Officials from and UC Health both say with increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients.
Andrew Thomas, M.D., of OSU Wexner Medical Center, says the hospital has seen a large increase in hospitalizations in the past few weeks, first surpassing 400 on Nov. 2. He says since then, that number has more than doubled with 960 hospitalizations today.
“We can’t sound the alarm bell loud enough for the people of Ohio to change their behavior,” said Thomas, urging Ohioans to take precautions to slow the spread of the virus and prevent further increases in hospitalizations.
According to Richard Lofgren, M.D., President and CEO of UC Health, 1,121 people are in the hospital in regions three and six, or the Dayton and Cincinnati areas.
“The growth is exponential at this point. We’re not preparing for the surge, the surge is here,” Lofgren said.
Ronda Lehman, President of Mercy Health says the number of patients coming in for care is rising at a faster rate than the rate patients are being discharged. She says the resources to get patients safely out of the hospital and home with oxygen and in-home care or to a health care facility are also being heavily taxed, especially since those resources still need to be available for other medical emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes and trauma.
The health officials say they could see hospitalizations related to COVID-19 spread at Thanksgiving get-togethers in as soon as two weeks following the holiday.
DeWine says the state has not yet reached a plateau in hospitalizations, and without turning the growth around, the health experts said that rate could increase by 50% in two weeks. The governor says what Ohioans due in the next few days will determine what happens next, and the statewide curfew has not been in effect long enough for results to be visible. He says there has been an increase in compliance with mask orders.
“This comes down to personal responsibility, and each decision we make,” DeWine said.
DeWine and health officials are urging people to not let their guards down as the holidays approach. They say keeping your “bubble” of contacts low will help to prevent an increase in cases. Lehman says people who are cautious in public settings could easily drop their guard in their home around those they know without considering the possibility that someone in that person’s “bubble” could have the virus.