COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio continue to rise. Locally, hospital and ICU beds in use across the Southwest Ohio region are nearing 90%, according to data from the Health Collaborative.
Ohio's hospitalizations continue to rise statewide, with Sunday's numbers reflecting the highest number of patients hospitalized since the start of the pandemic. Across the state, 2,286 people were in the hospital with COVID-19 on Sunday, according to the state's COVID-19 dashboard.
On Sunday, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced the highest weekly case total of COVID-19 cases, with the Commonwealth seeing 1,177 new cases and four deaths. Beshear pointed to Kenton and Boone Counties having some of the highest case numbers in the state, even as Boone County Schools prepare to bring students back to full in-person learning Monday morning.
Renee Mahaffey Harris, CEO of the Center for Closing the Health Gap, said she believes folks have let their guard down as COVID-19 fatigue sets in.
"Mandate consistency isn't happening," she said.
In Indiana, the state Department of Health announced 4,689 new confirmed cases and 36 new deaths on Sunday. Earlier in the week, Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said hospitals and healthcare workers in the state were swamped, "needing support now more than ever," according to The Associated Press.
There were 2,070 Hoosiers hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Saturday, according to the state’s online coronavirus dashboard. Roughly 70% of Indiana’s intensive care unit beds were in use.
Harris said she believes misconceptions around when to wear a mask and when it's not necessary is also contributing to spread throughout the Tri-State.
"Maybe I don't need to wear a mask when I'm outside walking in a park and passing other people because I'm outside," she said. "So, I think people have had conflicting examples of why you should wear a mask and when you should wear a mask."
President-elect Joe Biden said the pandemic is one of the first things he plans to address; he plans to announce the formation of a 12-person task force aimed at combating COVID-19 on Monday. On a newly-launched transition site, Biden's team announced its preliminary plans for battling COVID-19, including ramping up testing nationwide and implementing guidance for a nationwide mask mandate.