The Ohio Department of Health held a press conference on Thursday where they shared updates on COVID-19 in Ohio.
“The omicron variant continues to sweep across Ohio. Our daily COVID-19 case count remains historically high,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health. “Put simply, the spread community is endemic. The CDC’s benchmark for community spread is the number of cases per 100,000 population. This benchmark has proven useful throughout the pandemic in assessing how well the virus is affecting our communities. What is considered as high community spread is 100 cases per 100,000 people Right now in Ohio the average is just under 2000 per 100,000 people This is more than twenty times what is considered The numbers clearly show how easily omicron spreads.
Vanderhoff explained that the symptoms of the Omicron variant are often similar to a cold.
“But don’t underestimate this variant. Hospitalizations in Ohio broke records this month. With regard to hospitalizations, the gap is widening between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. With approximately 30% of Ohioans still unvaccinated, this is a serious concern,” he said.
Ohio has distributed 5.6 million free test kits, but demand is growing with cases, especially in group settings such as schools. To ensure in-person learning, the state is temporarily moving available tests to schools and “pausing shipments to our other community partners, including libraries and local health departments until supplies and supply chain have stabilized,” Vanderhoff said.
Although the tests are not distributed to these partners, over-the-counter tests are available at many pharmacies, health centers and more.
Additionally, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that testing locations will be supported by the Ohio National Guard to help overwhelmed hospital systems.
“We currently have nearly 2,000 Guard members deployed across the state at various hospitals in approximately 60 locations,” said Maj. Gen. John C. Harris of the Ohio National Guard. “Frankly, one of the great things about the National Guard is that we’re set up for disaster and emergency response and it’s actually that kind of disaster.”
“The main thing we find them doing is helping with the swabbing, the collection of those samples, but they do everything from traffic control, paperwork, check-in, registration of people, their verification,” he said.
From The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Dr. Daniel Bachmann shared the challenges facing healthcare systems today.
“The strain on our capacity, the historic volumes we are seeing, is felt by everyone right now. This morning in my county we had well over 100 patients waiting for hospitalization and in all the health systems and hospitals in my county we had less than 10 beds to accommodate these patients which is creating a backlog,” did he declare. “From a testing perspective, we are at a point where patients will not necessarily be tested if they come to the ER and are low acuity, which means they otherwise appear quite well and have no other illnesses that would put them at high risk for COVID-related complications. In these situations, patients may not receive a test. They will still be evaluated, but these tests add some of the inefficiency, so it’s a step that many health systems have taken in response to the high volume we’re seeing.
Dr. Jennifer Wall Forrester, infectious disease physician at UC Health, also commented on the increased demand on hospital resources. “Due to the huge number of infections, our hospitalizations are skyrocketing. We are also seeing an increase in pediatric admissions this time around. While we are seeing more people hospitalized, fortunately there has not been such a drastic increase in the number of people who end up in our intensive care units, especially when vaccinated,” he said. she stated.
However, with staff availability decreasing, she said she felt like she was treating more patients.
“Healthcare workers are not immune to getting sick from COVID-19. We are seeing more employees than ever miss work right now because they are sick. For those of us left, to be honest, we are exhausted and trying to cope with the added stress on our healthcare system with minimal resources,” she said.
Vanderhoff continued, “The bottom line is this. COVID-19 is not going away. And omicron isn’t just a bit cold for everyone. Lives are still in danger and, sadly, lives continue to be lost. We had to say a heartbreaking goodbye to 30,000 Ohioans because of COVID-19. »