Tri-State health leaders brace for surge in COVID hospitalizations

COVID-19 coronavirus hospital nurse
Posted at 11:41 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 12:05:46-05

CINCINNATI — As the state continues to break records for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, local health leaders are monitoring what’s going on in the northern part of the state.

Gov. Mike DeWine called for the deployment of an additional 1,250 members of the Ohio National Guard to assist overwhelmed hospitals, and Tiffany Mattingly with the Health Collaborative says it’s only a matter of time before the Tri-State sees the same.

“It’s predicted [Cleveland] is a couple of weeks ahead of us,” Mattingly said. “ What they are seeing now, we potentially will see in a couple of weeks.”

State-wide hospitalizations have hit an all-time high. The Cincinnati area is also seeing an increase.

“Over the past 60 days, our hospitals have seen 114% increase in hospitalizations,” Mattingly said. “We're at about almost 690 hospitalizations just for COVID patients, and just shy of 200 of those are in the ICU. “

Cleveland is mostly getting help from the National Guard. Dayton is also getting help. While it's the only city in Southwest Ohio to receive that help right now, experts expect help will be needed in Cincinnati.

“The expectation is that will come our way,” Mattingly said. “We do get a little bit of the gift of time here and observation to see what is happening up in the Cleveland area — how are they responding? How is the guard responding? As well as the gift of time to get more people boosted and vaccinated.”

According to the Ohio Hospital Association, one in five patients are COVID-positive in Southwest Ohio. In the ICU, it’s one in three patients.

During the governor’s press conference Dr. Richard Lofgren with UC Health said the increase "truly is a crisis."

"It affects people who don't have COVID — it squeezes out our ability to take care of patients with other life-threatening problems, such as heart attacks and strokes," Lofgren said.

With the holidays coming to an end, there are concerns about an even larger spread in the coming weeks.

“Hospitalizations that we're seeing now are still pre-Christmas Day gatherings,” Mattingly said. "It's really a perfect storm, because on top of that it's about the time we're expecting omicron to hit pretty significantly down here as well."

Experts are pleading with all residents to get vaccinated or boosted before the surge makes its way to the Tri-State.

"We do have that gift of time right now,” Mattingly said. “It's not a lot, but every vaccination counts. Every booster counts.”

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