The current COVID wave is affecting nearly everything in Ohio right now
Safety forces, BMV offices, libraries and restaurants are among many things being impacted by the COVID-19 surge.
Much of the attention in recent days has been focused on Ohio's hospitals that have been overwhelmed because of COVID patients. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently called in more than 2,000 Ohio National Guard members to help in those facilities. But it's not just Ohio hospitals that are struggling to keep up because of the most recent COVID wave.
Earlier this week, Cincinnati declared a state of emergency because so many first responders were absent with COVID. And though it’s not as bad in some other parts of the state, safety forces are short-staffed. David Bernzweig is with the Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters.
“In order to cover shifts, firefighters are, in many cases, having to work mandatory overtime in order to keep the door open at fire and EMS services throughout the state,” Bernzweig says.
Ohioans who go to their local Bureau of Motor Vehicles office might find it is closed. BMV Registrar Charlie Norman says some smaller offices have been forced to close or limit hours too because the staff is affected by COVID.
“At any given point, there’s probably four or five agencies where we have temporary closures,” Norman says.
Norman reminds everyone they can get replacement drivers’ licenses and tags online. And you can also check there to make sure your local office is open for business.
Michelle Francis with the Ohio Library Council says some local libraries are also affected by COVID staff shortages.
“We have had some libraries that have had to modify their hours. I think you have seen some announcements recently about not being open on Sundays or maybe closing early a couple of days of the week,” Francis says.
And if you plan on going out to eat today, you might want to call ahead to make sure the restaurant you want to visit is open. John Barker with the Ohio Restaurant Association says some restaurants are adjusting to staffing problems due to COVID.
“They’re limiting their hours and in some cases, they are closing for a day or two because that have to wait until some people are able to go through their quarantine period and go back to work,” Barker says.
The number of probable and confirmed COVID cases during the past couple of weeks is higher than at any point in the pandemic. Record high case numbers and hospitalizations started during the holiday season and have continued into this month.