Ohio's Coronavirus Inpatient Admittances Reach New Record
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, there are more than 5,000 coronavirus-infected people admitted as inpatients to hospitals across Ohio.
More than 1,000 of those patients are in intensive care units.
Gov. Mike DeWine made the announcement during a Monday press conference, in which healthcare providers joined him to sound the alarm about surging patient numbers.
“A third of the patients across the entire state that are in an ICU have COVID,” said Andrew Thomas, Chief Clinical Officer at The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. “One out of every three patients on a ventilator across the state has COVID. That’s called ‘crowding out.’ They’re essentially going to start crowding out other people who need that level of care if we see these numbers continue to rise.”
Hospitals are delaying other types of care to make room for COVID-19 patients, Thomas said.
The Ohio Department of Health reported 6,631 new cases in the past 24 hours, well below the 21-day daily average of 7,909. But DeWine cautioned those lower-than-the-trend numbers may be because of incomplete data public health officials are still working to update.
"Here's where it stands now, as of today. The backlog is, I believe, around 7500," DeWine said. "We are adding to the backlog every day, so when you look at the figures, they are an understatement of the figures, of cases for that day, somewhere between 500 and 1,000."
The state is offering up to $15,000 to nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult day care centers to improve air quality through HVAC inspections, portable air filtration systems, new filtration systems, maintenance on current systems, and other interventions, DeWine said Monday, later tweeting links to the new program.
DeWine on Monday also asked Ohio’s employers to return to remote working, if possible, and pushed back the planned Jan. 4 return of state employees.
“We have to do everything we can during this very serious time, when our hospitals are really being hit, to slow down the transmission, slow down the contacts, slow down the potential contacts that people might have,” DeWine said.
The governor added there are no plans to re-issue a stay-at-home order. He pointed to problems cause by the order, like an increase in drug overdoses, and said there are some signs Ohioans have responded to the current spike in cases.
“If everybody could take down by 20 percent or 25 percent just the contacts they have,” he said.
Based on a call with Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Anthony Fauci, DeWine said Ohio should receive its first shipment of coronavirus vaccines on Dec. 15 and a second shipment on Dec. 22, both of which will go to healthcare workers.
“It was a happy call,” DeWine said. “We can’t start putting shots in people’s arms until we get it but all indications are this is coming.”
The governor said he will unveil more plans regarding vaccine distribution at his regular Thursday press briefing.