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The COVID situation in Ohio right now is bad. It's expected to worsen in the coming weeks

A patient in the hospital with COVID
Mongkolchan Akesin
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Shutterstock.com
Patient suffering from COVID-19 in hospital

The positive case and hospitalization numbers right now are rivaling what was seen in Ohio last winter.

Ohio Dept of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says 9,738 probable and confirmed positive cases of COVID yesterday. Today, that number is even higher. There are 10,456 positive and confirmed cases, after adjusting for 1,347 that were added after a data error. The last time Ohio had positive cases numbers that high was on January 4, 2021, before vaccines were widely available.

COVID case rates reported on December 16, 2021
Ohio Dept of Health
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Ohio Dept of Health
COVID case rates reported on December 16, 2021

Just today, Governor Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine announced they have been exposed to COVID. It's the second time the fully vaccinated couple has been exposed in recent months.

Message about the DeWine's COVID exposure
Ohio Governor's office
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Ohio Governor's office
Message about the DeWine's COVID exposure

And more than a dozen Cleveland Browns players, along with Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, have tested positive for COVID and are unlikely to be able to participate in Saturday's game against the Las Vegas Raiders. But it's not just positive cases that concern health leaders. Vanderhoff says Ohio's hospitals are overwhelmed with mostly unvaccinated COVID patients.

“We’re in a very serious situation. Our number of patients in the ICU is almost as bad as it has ever been throughout the entire pandemic,” Vanderhoff says.

Vanderhoff says it’s not just older and sicker people who are in hospitals now.

“Approximately 22% of all patients hospitalized with COVID are under 50 and 13% are under 40," Vanderhoff says.

Hospitals, especially those in Northern Ohio, have been postponing elective surgeries and are sometimes even unable to accept emergency patients because they don’t have enough staff.

Dr. Steve Gordon, Cleveland Clinic
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Dr. Steve Gordon, Cleveland Clinic

Dr. Steve Gordon, chair of the Department of Infectious Disease at the Cleveland Clinic, says his facility has the highest census of COVID patients ever. He says 33-40% of the regular beds are filled with COVID patients. And it's worse in the ICU where about 50 of patients are suffering with COVID. And most are unvaccinated.

As in the past, medical professionals are strongly urging Ohioans who are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID to get their shots. Right now in Ohio, under 58% of Ohioans who are in age ranges where they are eligible for shots have been fully vaccinated.

Fully vaccinated Ohioans
Ohio Dept. of Health
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Ohio Dept of Health
Fully vaccinated Ohioans

Health officials say they expect the situation to worsen in the coming weeks as more people gather indoors without masks for the holidays. And the medical professionals are bracing for the impact of the highly contagious Omicron variant that is now ravaging parts of Europe. Vanderhoff says that variant is highly contagious, more so than the Delta variant that is hammering the Buckeye State right now.

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