‘The surge is here,’ hospitals face tough care choices as hospitalizations soar

Hospital officials sent an urgent warning to Ohioans today as hospitalizations have jumped by more than seven times in two months.

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The topic was one of several discussed during an hour long briefing called by Gov. Mike DeWine Monday afternoon.

Joining DeWine were representatives from several hospitals across the state.

The following announcements have been made:

  • The state reported 11,885 new cases, which does include a backlog of Mercy Health and Cleveland Clinic. “This may be artificially high,” DeWine said referring to the daily case total.
  • There are 4,358 patients are currently hospitalized in Ohio and 1,079 patients in the ICU. Two months ago there were about 600 hospitalized in the state.
  • DeWine said he will be meeting with the White House later this afternoon to discuss and get an update on vaccine distribution.
  • Dr. Richard Lofgren with UC Health spoke about the hospitalizations in the Dayton and Cincinnati region. He said they are limiting non-emergent services that may require a hospital stay to help assist with demand for care.
  • Lofgren said people should not rely on getting a test before going to a Thanksgiving gathering to be an indicator of letting your guard down. He says the test is only a snapshot in time and that it could create a false sense of security.
  • Lofgren said nearly half of the hospitals in the Dayton and Cincinnati region are reporting nursing shortages. In addition to shortages, Lofgren said they are concerned about burnout. Lofgren said the “surge is here.”
  • The Cleveland Clinic had 970 caregivers out among its health system, something echoed by other health systems as well, said Dr. Robert Wyllie from the Cleveland Clinic.
  • Wyllie said they have worked at Cleveland Clinic to transition some workers that traditionally handle elective surgeries back into the hospital and ICU areas to assist in caring for patients.
  • Wyllie said the state will likely see any cases that require hospitalization stemming from Thanksgiving gatherings to show up in about two weeks.
  • In Central Ohio, hospitalizations have more than doubled in just three weeks, sitting now just under 1,000 hospitalizations, according to Dr. Andy Thomas from Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.
  • Thomas said every hospital system in the state is going to have to make tough decisions when it comes to staffing and elective surgeries.