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Ohio doctors and nurses stretched thin as hospitalization and ICU patient numbers increase

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 10:18 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Some local hospitals in Northeast Ohio are nearing crisis mode tonight. That’s because intensive care unit beds are filling up with COVID patients, and healthcare workers are emotionally drained and overworked.

It’s also creating other dangers for patients with other illnesses, who also are in dire need of care. Doctors say it’s a surge like they’ve never seen, and it’s likely we haven’t peaked when it comes to COVID infections.

In 24 hours, 8,349 COVID cases have been reported in Ohio, 355 hospitalizations, and 24 admitted to ICUs.

University Hospital says the number of COVID hospitalizations in Cuyahoga County has increased by 170% in just 30 days.

Doctor Robyn Strosaker is the Chief Operating Officer of University Hospitals – Cleveland Medical Center, “Hospitalization volumes are as high as they were back in November and December of last year. We’ve definitely seen an increase.”

Medical experts say the Delta variant is driving up the number of COVID infections at a concerning rate here in Northeast Ohio, and this time hospitalizations include children of nearly every age. “We’re seeing COVID in all age children from infants to teenagers, we are seeing children in the ICU, and we are seeing children on ventilators,” Doctor Strosaker said.

When it comes to COVID patients in the worst health, doctors and nurses say it’s heartbreaking and exhausting, and the ICUs are busy; according to Doctor Strosaker, “They’re full. I mean, we are as full as we were back in November, December, and early January of last year.”

According to University Hospital, Cuyahoga County hospitalizations have increased 170% in just 30 days. And the UH St. John Medical Center in Westlake remains open for patients but has reached 85 to 95% capacity.

The Cleveland Clinic currently has the highest volume of patients with COVID since last winter. Cleveland Clinic hospitals in Ohio have about 450 COVID patients, a 44% increase since August 16th. The Clinic also has 120 ICU patients with COVID, a 66% increase in just 30 days.

Doctor Strosaker says, “People with young families at home on ventilators, and it’s heartbreaking. So, really we just can’t encourage enough people to get a vaccine, and please wear your mask.”

So doctors say keep in mind if we don’t drive the COVID cases down, and hospitals fill up, other medical emergencies may have to wait.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, as well as Doctor Bruce Vanderhoff, the Director of Ohio’s Board of Health, will hold three news availabilities on Friday, September 16th. Two of the talks will be in neighboring West Virginia to talk about increasing COVID cases in the region and the impact on Ohio’s Health Care System.

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