The good and bad news when it comes to COVID in Ohio right now
The good news is there are no confirmed cases of Omicron in Ohio yet but the bad news is the Delta strain is hammering the Buckeye State.
State health leaders say COVID hospitalizations are the highest they’ve been since January before vaccines were widely available. And Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says the Delta variant is still stressing many facilities, especially where vaccination rates are lower than the state’s average.
“Higher vaccination rates are associated with lower rates of hospitalizations and deaths," Vanderhoff says.
Dr. Glen Seaman, the Medical Director, Williams County Health District, says that's what he's seeing on the ground in Williams County in Northwest Ohio.
“We’ve seen a huge surge in COVID cases, just 230 cases in just the last one week, 7 new hospitalizations and 2 deaths. At any given time, we are averaging probably 10-15 patients in the hospital with COVID. A high 90% of those are unvaccinated individuals,” Seaman says.
According to the ODH website, 41.6% of Williams County residents are vaccinated. When it comes to the statewide average of all Ohioans, 53.6% are vaccinated. But it's important to note that's among all Williams County residents and all Ohioans. Some people cannot be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons. And the vaccines have not been approved for children under five years old. When it comes to Ohioans who are eligible by age, 53.66% of them are fully vaccinated.
Vanderhoff says the state is monitoring the situation in Northern Ohio and could employ the Ohio National Guard if needed. But he says the problem is skilled medical workers are what's needed and most ONG members who have those skills are currently working in hospitals or medical centers. Hospitals in Northern Ohio have been canceling elective surgeries and diverting ambulances, causing patients to be transported to medical facilities that are farther away.