COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Ohioans prepare for the holidays, Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said the state's COVID-19 numbers show the delta variant "appears to have gotten a second wind."
In a press conference Thursday, Vanderhoff said COVID hospitalizations have "significantly increased," reporting one in seven hospital patients in the state has COVID. In the last 21 days, COVID hospitalizations have increased by 23%, while ICU admissions have gone up 15%.
"These numbers are quite simply going in the wrong direction," Vanderhoff said. "More people are getting sick and more people are being hospitalized."
Ohio reported more than 6,300 COVID cases Wednesday, the highest number since early October. Vanderhoff said there are 2,800 COVID patients in Ohio hospitals with more than 800 in ICUs.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Vanderhoff said people who have yet to get their initial shot or COVID booster should. Anyone who feels ill should skip out on gatherings.
"Don't bring tragedy that could be easily avoided to your family this holiday season," Vanderhoff said. "Make the safe choice and get vaccinated."
People traveling for Thanksgiving are encouraged to visit a drive-thru testing location before and after the holiday, especially if they plan to come in contact with an at-risk family member or friend.
Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, OhioHealth's medical director of infectious diseases, said people should continue to wear masks indoors because the state still has a high level of transmission — something he said will likely remain through the winter months.
The Ohio Department of Health expects the Food and Drug Administration to approve boosters for all adults as early as this week, and Vanderhoff said getting the booster will help bump people's protection from another wave.
"Getting really sick with COVID-19 is a risk we don't need to take because our vaccines are so good and are readily available across the state," Vanderhoff said.
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