Expert: COVID-19 is spreading faster in Ohio than it is in the entire country

Posted at 3:12 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 18:59:04-05

CINCINNATI — The coronavirus is spreading faster in Ohio than in the U.S. as a whole, according to Craig Brammer, CEO of the Health Collaborative.

Ohioans are two and a half times more likely to get COVID-19 than New Yorkers, Brammer said Friday. Ohio sees about 42 new COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 population, and New York sees 17 cases per day per 100,000 population.

Dr. Helen Koselka painted a bleak picture: The TriHealth doctor said she’s tired of seeing people struggle to breathe.

“We’re tired of seeing the fear on the faces. We’re tired of seeing people who are passing away who were in their normal state of health just a few days prior,” Koselka said.

The increasing COVID-19 cases are overwhelming, Koselka said. Ohio broke its record for daily cases for the second day in a row on Friday, reporting 8,071 cases.

The record set on Thursday was 7,101 cases, according to the Ohio Department of Health. The state broke its daily case record three times in the last four days. Ohio has recorded 32,260 cases since Monday.

Koselka said the astronomical case numbers have put her and her fellow health care workers in a precarious position; not only are they exhausted, they have to turn to the public for help in controlling the spread.

“I’m a practicing physician. And as a physician, I find myself in a situation I just never imagined. Usually people come to me for help, but I’m here on behalf of all health care workers asking for the public’s assistance. Please help us. Please help all the health care workers caring for this growing number of COVID patients by slowing the spread,” Koselka said.

Dr. Steve Davis, chief operating officer at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, said the “curve” for cases is no longer so — the line goes straight up.

On Oct. 1, 100 people in the region were hospitalized with COVID-19. As of Friday, there were 474 people hospitalized with the virus, according to Davis.

Davis said data predicts that there will be 700 people hospitalized with COVID-19 by Thanksgiving Day.

Dr. Evaline Alessandrini said the data Davis showed should stun people. Alessandrini said staffing is short, and if the spread does not stop, medical care in general will suffer.

“We are here for you every single day … but we have to have the staff to be there for you. We have to have the space to be there for you. And every time we add 20, 50, 100 patients with COVID, it’s eliminating our ability to provide that timely care that we want to give you within seconds of walking in the door,” Alessandrini said.

Health care leaders stressed that people should reconsider their Thanksgiving plans and limit their gatherings to the people in their household.