Ohio Health Director: Large, outdoor venues not proving to be COVID-19 super-spreader events

COLUMBUS — Ohio’s Health Director and a doctor from northwest Ohio’s ProMedica healthcare system said large outdoor venues are not contributing to super-spreader events.

“Thankfully, thus far we are just not seeing large outdoor venues proving themselves to be super-spreader events, so that’s an encouraging thing,” Ohio Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said, adding that if you are planning to attend these kinds of events to still consider masking. “I think the prudent thing to do is put on a mask.”

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Dr. Brian Kaminski, with ProMedica, said while the outdoor events aren’t becoming super-spreaders, the indoor activities that often follow those large outdoor events are contributing to spread. Kaminski said contact tracing has been used to show that.

The statements come as the state continues to see a rise in COVID-19 cases, reporting over 7,700 new cases Wednesday afternoon and nearly 300 new hospitalizations.

Vanderhoff said the spread of COVID-19 and hospitals facing staffing issues are contributing to “a serious situation” for the healthcare systems in the state. Some hospitals have already had to reschedule elective surgeries and re-route patients to other hospitals.

“The Delta variant is incredibly contagious,” Vanderhoff said.

Dr. Michael Canady, with Holzer Health System based in the southeast Ohio city of Athens, said travel nursing agencies that pay around $10,000 a week are taking nurses away from some of the traditional hospitals in the state. Coupled with overall exhaustion for healthcare workers, the challenges are placing a strain on capacity at hospitals across the state, Canady said.