Ohio sees surge in COVID-19 cases, like the rest of the country due to Delta variant

Doctors caution it’s not time to panic...yet
Cleveland Clinic's ICU not getting overwhelmed by COVID uptick but doctors warn a summer surge...
Cleveland Clinic's ICU not getting overwhelmed by COVID uptick but doctors warn a summer surge will get worse in the fall and winter
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 1:05 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - COVID is surging across the country and also in Ohio, where the state documented 495 new coronavirus cases Sunday; double the number the state experienced as late as June.

The timing of this surge is worrisome for some doctors.

“If we’re starting to see rises in cases in times like this, in July, when none of those factors are really in play, people are not in school, people are outside and outdoors and the weather is hot, then we worry more so about what’s going to happen three months from now,” says Dr. Frank Esper, an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic.

The uptick has not overwhelmed local ICUs, according to Dr. Joseph Khabbaza, a pulmonary critical care physician at Cleveland Clinic.

“Right now, thankfully, we just have a very slight uptick in cases in the ICU compared to a couple weeks ago,” says Dr. Khabbaza. “The numbers overall are still very low, thankfully.”

Dr. Khabbaza blames the recent uptick on the more contagious Delta Variant of COVID, but he worries new cases will involve a different group than before.

“We are going to see younger, healthier people than before because older people have immunity and there are less of those precautions,” says Dr. Khabbaza. “Well over 99% of the patients we’re seeing, that I’ve taken care of, who are hospitalized with COVID-19 have no immunity or are not fully vaccinated.”

“If it’s getting bad now, then it’s it’s going to get really bad three months from now when all the conditions are in the favor of this virus,” said Dr. Esper.

Ohio is slightly below the national average for fully vaccinated people at 46%.

Dr. Esper warns the summer surge should signal Ohio needs to act before fall and winter.

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