Hospitals nearing capacity across state
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Ohio Department of Health director, urged Ohioans to rethink their trips to the hospital, provided it is not an emergency.
“As you’ve heard over the past few days, children’s and adult hospitals have sounded the alarm,” Vanderhoff said. “We’re in a serious situation … hospitals are being stretched to capacity.”
Vanderhoff, alongside Dr. Michael Canady, CEO of Holzer Health System in southeastern Ohio, and Brian Kaminski, vice president of quality and patient safety at ProMedica in northwestern Ohio, warned the public of hospitals nearing capicity with COVID-19 cases on top of any serious medical emergencies.
Canady said he is concerned about someone coming in and not getting proper care because of a lack of beds. That fear, he said, is becoming realized.
“We are, quite frankly, at a breaking point,” he said. “I don’t know how much we can handle.”
Kaminski said this scenario is a “perfect storm.”
“Volumes have shot through the roof,” he said. “It directly aligns with what’s been seen in the state and nationwide.”
Vanderhoff said going to primary care providers, urgent care centers or even a pharmacy for mild, routine health concerns will help alleviate some of the stress on hospitals.
“Hospitals are having to make difficult decisions. Some have diverted patients to other hospitals; some have reached capacity,” he said.
The ODH reported an increase of 355 newly reported hospitalizations, well above the 209 hospitalization 21-day average. Vanderhoff said the increase of hospitalizations is related to the number of COVID-19 patients who are not vaccinated.
“When hospitals are faced with historically high cases of COVID-19, our systems become strained. We all need to do our best to stop the spread, and it includes choosing to be vaccinated. It’s our best opportunity to allow our hospitals to provide their services,” Vanderhoff said.
Canady called the vaccine one of the most studied vaccines “in the history of mankind.”
“I implore everyone, unless you have a legitimate medical reason or a religious reason, go get the vaccine,” Canady said.
As the delta variant of COVID-19 continues to prove problematic for students and others who are unvaccinated, a host of local schools have decided to require mask-wearing.
South Range Local Schools is the most recent district to update its masking protocols. Masks still are optional; however, when students and staff are within the recommended 3-foot distance, they will be asked to wear masks.
According to a recorded message sent out to parents in the district Thursday, Superintendent Bethany Carlson said a staff member and two students have tested positive and the mask recommendation in these small groups is a preventative measure.
“I want to reiterate that we are still mask optional; this small alteration to our plan is to allow our staff to teach in a manner that supports the excellence we have established here at South Range and not quarantine multiple students and staff,” she said.
Brookfield Local Schools also recently implemented mask requirements for all students after 120 students have been quarantined.
COVID-19 AND VACCINE DATA
The ODH reported Thursday that 8,349 new cases were added, brining total cases to 1,327,614. Since last week, the state has added 50,876 cases.
Locally, Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties reported 326 new cases. Mahoning County reported 157 new cases, bringing the total to 26,145; Trumbull County had 105 new cases, making the total 19,300; and Columbiana County had 64 new cases for a total of 11,164.
Since last week, those counties have added 12 new deaths, six of which came from Trumbull County. Death totals are usually reported by the ODH on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Vaccine data shows an increase as well. The ODH reported 9,295 new people received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, bringing the number of those who have started vaccinations to be 6,209,837, or 53.13 percent.
In Mahoning County, 141 vaccinations were started, making the total number 117,304, or 51.30 percent of residents.
In Trumbull County, 155 vaccinations were started, making the total number 97,119, or 49.06 percent.
In Columbiana County, 62 vaccinations were started, making the total number 42,465, or 41.68 percent.