’There’s no question that we have flashing yellow lights in Ohio’: UH doctor says hospital capacity OK for now, but that could change

Often, hospitalizations can be weeks behind the rise in cases, so Dr. Daniel Simon said the next couple of weeks are critical.
Updated: Jul. 13, 2020 at 11:27 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - As of Monday, more than 3,000 people in Ohio have died from COVID-19. On Friday, the state set a record for the highest number of new cases in a day since the beginning of the pandemic with more than 1,500 new infections. So, we wanted to know if local hospitals had concerns about capacity.

“There’s no question that we have flashing yellow lights in Ohio. I mean, cases are up,” said Dr. Daniel Simon, Chief Clinical and Scientific Officer for University Hospitals Health System.

Right now, Dr. Simon says they have less than 70 COVID-19 patients at their hospitals, but at the same time, cases have more than doubled in the past few weeks, so why is that?

“The thing that we’re seeing of course as you know is a 15-year drop in the median age of patients and those who are hospitalized are having shorter hospital stays,” explained Dr. Simon.

Dr. Simon is the chief clinical and scientific officer at University Hospitals. He said right now their hospital capacity is manageable, but they still have their surge plans in place. He said they meet twice a day every day to go over that plan which covers up to a 300% surge in beds.

“ICU admissions and deaths lag these big exposures, so it will be very interesting to see what happens here now,” he said. “I think that the only thing that we can hope for as we said is that this drop in the age of about 15 years is giving us a group that is less likely to be hospitalized, and if they are hospitalized they have shorter hospitalizations. However, when they expose their parent and grandparents that’s where the trouble comes, so I think you’re absolutely right. Florida had an increase in the number of cases for two weeks and people said, ‘Well, there’s no change in hospitalizations and deaths and now of course 40 hospitals on the east coast of Florida have no ICU capabilities, so I think the next two weeks will be very important.”

19 News also checked with the Cleveland Clinic, they told us right now they have adequate ICU beds available. MetroHealth said they got rid of their COVID-19 ICU three weeks ago because they had less than five patients with the virus.

They said they still have them in isolation. They told us if there is a surge, they will reactivate it.

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