COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations trending upwards

MIAMI VALLEY — Ohio ended the week with COVID trending up and the number of people in the hospital on the rise as well.

In a hastily called briefing on-line, Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, described the latest case numbers.

>> U.S. report doesn’t provide definitive answer on origins of COVID-19

“Unfortunately, we are continuing to see our Delta wave drive COVID-19 cases ever higher, with now 5,000 new cases reported just yesterday, a high we saw last January,” Vanderhoff said.

The ODH reported Friday 4,855 new cases statewide over the previous 24 hours. That is down a bit from Thursday’s high of 5,395, but still well above the 21-day average of 3,054.

Hospitalizations peaked Tuesday at 277 in a 24-hour period, much greater than the 21-day average of 132.

Vanderhoff said while the number of cases now is similar to what was seen here eight months ago, the situation has changed.

The Delta variant is hitting younger patients hard, including people in their 20′s and 30′s who, prior to this, had no underlying health problems.

>> What you need to know: Ohio sees 4,855 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours

Vanderhoff said it is mostly the unvaccinated who are being hospitalized, although there are a few so-called “breakthrough cases” involving patients who received the vaccine and still contracted COVID.

Local health departments, including Greene County Public Health, have been watching the case numbers closely.

“It’s concerning. It’s very frustrating and we’re overwhelmed. We have lots of volunteers from our local medical reserve corps who are ready to help as need be, but these numbers are concerning to us,” said Laurie Fox of Greene County Public Health.

State and local health departments will not be issuing any health orders because state lawmakers have essentially blocked their legal authority to do that.

Instead, the agencies have been trying to convince unvaccinated people that now is the time to get the shot.

>> WPAFB commander declares public health emergency

“If it saves one life, this Delta variant is very aggressive. It is very contagious, It’s making you sicker, quicker. We’re hearing that from all over the state. We’re hearing that from all over the country and people are getting very sick,” Fox said.

While local agencies are promoting the vaccine, the Ohio Department of Health is also turning its attention to the capacity of hospitals.

“The Ohio Hospital Association reports that statewide about one in ten patients in the hospital are there with COVID-19,” Vanderhoff said.

Some hospital systems have even begun to limit elective surgeries. 

Fox said they will be watching local school districts and universities for signs of outbreaks of COVID as students return to the classroom.