Ohio shatters daily COVID-19 case record; active virus-related hospitalizations at highest point

COLUMBUS — Ohio has set a pandemic record with active hospitalizations due to COVID-19 and single-day cases reported Wednesday, surpassing the highest single day totals set previously, according to the Ohio Hospital Association and Ohio Department of Health.

The situation prompted Gov. Mike DeWine to request an additional 1,250 Ohio National Guard members to be deployed to hospitals around the area Wednesday, including in our region.

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Gen. John Harris with the Ohio National Guard said 40 members of the National Guard will be reporting to Miami Valley Hospital.

A spokeswoman for Premier Health said the 40 members will arrive for orientation on Thursday.

“More than likely they will not be actually working until early next week possibly in some areas over the weekend,” Premier Health said in a statement.

DeWine said the hospitalization increases are being driven by Ohioans who are unvaccinated.

“The numbers clearly, clearly show that,” DeWine said, adding that 92.5 percent of those who have been admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 since June are unvaccinated.

If you’re vaccinated, DeWine said, “the chances of you ending up in a hospital are pretty darn slim.”

“I think it’s important for us not to panic,” DeWine said.

On Wednesday, the Ohio Hospital Association reported 5,356 people were actively hospitalized in the state. Previously, the highest single-day report of active hospitalizations came when 5,308 people were hospitalized on Dec. 15, 2020.

Over 3,000 of the 5,356 active COVID-related hospitalizations in the state are from the Cleveland area. UC Health President and CEO Richard Lofgren said southwest Ohio is seeing a rise of hospitalizations as well, but not at the rate of the northeast region.

“My fear is that we are only a couple weeks behind,” Lofgren said.

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DeWine activated an initial wave of 1,050 members of the National Guard earlier this month to help fill a “dire” hospital staffing issue as the state and nation continues to deal with a surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 150 of those National Guard members were trained nurses, EMTs, and other healthcare personnel that were mainly being sent to hospitals in the northern parts of the state where the higher levels of hospitalizations are happening.

The rest of the 900 members were being sent to various hospitals across the state, including in Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus.

On Wednesday, the Ohio Department of Health reported an additional 20,320 new COVID cases in the last 24 hours and 592 new hospitalizations. Both those numbers are above the running 21-day average in their respective categories.

Statewide, the COVID-19 positivity rate is 25 percent, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

“A very serious situation,” said Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, describing the rising hospitalizations. “We’re looking at now an impact of COVID-19 unlike anything we’ve seen.”