COLUMBUS, Ohio — More than 6,100 Ohioans were hospitalized with COVID-19 Monday, the same day the state reported more than 18,900 new daily cases.
Of the record 6,177 COVID patients in Ohio’s hospitals on Monday, 1,307 people were in intensive-care units, and 835 were on ventilators, according to data released by the Ohio Department of Health.
COVID hospitalizations have increased daily since Christmas Day, with records set consecutively since Wednesday, data show.
Local, state and national experts fear cases will rise as people return to work and schools after the holidays. Spikes have followed holidays previously during the roughly two-year pandemic.
COVID patients account for nearly 25% of all hospitalizations; 29.25% of all ICU patients; and almost 17% of ventilator capacity, the ODH reports.
The state also reported 18,942 new daily COVID cases Monday. On the last day of 2021, Ohio reached a grim milestone of more than two million COVID cases since the pandemic began. As of Monday, there have been 2,072,663 total cases reported.
Nearly 60% of all Ohioans have gotten at least their first dose of the COVID vaccine, including 70.15% of adults and 63.69% of people 5 and older as of Monday, according to the ODH. Of those, 55.13% of Ohioans — including 65.09% of adults and 58.59% of those 5 and older — have completed the vaccine.
More than 2.735 million Ohioans have received a booster dose, including 7,137 in the last day.
The omicron variant — three times more transmissible than the delta variant — has fueled the spike in cases, but some have speculated omicron will mean fewer severe cases.
Sara Paton, an epidemiology professor at Wright State University, said it still is difficult to determine the severity, but added, “Even if it is less severe, and a smaller percent may go to the hospital, there’s going to be a whole lot more people with it because it’s so transmissible, so it could overwhelm hospitals just because of the volume of cases.”
The strain on hospitals prompted Gov. Mike DeWine last month to activate 1,050 National Guard members to assist with staffing shortages and the record number of COVID patients. DeWine called up another 1,250 members last week to add to the force helping health care systems.
Most of the guard members do not provide direct medical care but rather focus on non-clinical tasks, such as transporting patients and cleaning rooms in between patients to free up beds that can be used by another patient.