CINCINNATI — The chief executive officers from six Ohio children's hospitals released a joint statement Thursday asking people to help protect children in the state from COVID-19.
"We are asking and urging all Ohioans to do what you can to stand with us to help protect our state's children by using the tools we have," said the open letter released through the Ohio Children's Hospital Association.
The letter went on to state those tools were vaccinations for those eligible, mask-wearing in schools and during large gatherings, safe physical distancing and hand washing.
Michael Fisher, president and CEO of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center signed the letter along with the heads of Akron Children's Hospital, Dayton Children's Hospital, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital and Russell J. Elbeid Children's Hospital.
The letter outlined the urgent situation children's hospitals across Ohio are facing, stating "more kids are coming into our hospitals with COVID symptoms," "more kids are being hospitalized because of COVID and specifically the Delta variant" and "more kids are in the ICU with COVID than ever before."
The letter also stated "other respiratory illnesses like RSV are at levels that we don't experience until peak season in winter" and that "more kids are coming to our hospitals with mental and behavioral issues" that are taxing hospitals' staff at unprecedented levels.
"This is reality for us today," the letter stated. "And it's threatening the capacity of our pediatric safety net in ways we have never experienced before."