UC Health doctor: Region at ‘most critical point’ since pandemic started

Posted at 12:26 PM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 19:22:34-04

CINCINNATI — Dr. Evaline Alessandrini likened the amount of people in southwest Ohio who are dying from COVID-19 to a fatal bus crash happening every week.

The Chief Medical Officer at UC Health said that about 25 people in southwest Ohio are dying from COVID-19 each week.

“Imagine if we had a fatal bus crash every week. Would we act? Yes, we would act,” Alessandrini said. “And so our ask is that we act together as a cohesive community to respond to this health emergency in our region.”

As of Friday, more than 250 people in region 6 — Butler, Hamilton, Clermont, Warren, Clinton, Highland, Brown and Adams counties — were in the hospital with COVID-19, Alessandrini said.

Alessandrini was among several health care leaders to address the public Friday afternoon on the state of southwest Ohio amid the pandemic.

Watch the full press conference in the player below.

This is the highest number of people in southwest Ohio to be hospitalized since the start of the pandemic; the prior peak was 188 people hospitalized in July.

In southwest Ohio, 65 people were in the Intensive Care Unit as of Friday. The prior spike was 62 people in the ICU in July.

Dr. Richard Lofgren, president and CEO of UC Health, said the state of the pandemic in the region has changed dramatically since the beginning of October.

“At this point in time, we have more people in the hospital than we ever have, and we need the community to do what we know works,” Lofgren said.

He emphasized that everyone should wear masks, maintain social distancing and frequently wash their hands. Lofgren acknowledged as well that "COVID fatigue" has set in, leading many people to ignore crucial safety recommendations.

“Everyone must be vigilant," said Dr. Helen K. Koselka, Executive Medical Director for Good Samaritan Hospital. “We all want to return to our pre-COVID lives, but we just can’t at this time.”

Hamilton County is seeing the highest COVID-19 case counts since the beginning of the pandemic. Health officials confirmed 227 COVID-19 cases on Thursday alone, according to Alessandrini. Two weeks ago, health officials confirmed 114 cases in one day. Several doctors at Friday's news conference said that people being tired of the pandemic was at least one part to blame for these increases.

"We’re in a really bad place and I’m here to share some sobering facts," Alessandrini said. "Unabated, without our interventions, in two weeks we’re going to be seeing over 450 new cases every day in our area."