‘We are expecting a third wave and we’re scared’ Nurses prepare as area sees rapid rise in COVID-19

MIAMI VALLEY — The Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association is warning of a rapid rise in hospitalizations over the last two weeks in the Miami Valley region as the Delta variant continues spreading in Ohio.

In 21 days, the region has gone from 8 people in the hospital with COVID-19 to 57 people on Monday, which is an over 600 percent increase, according to online data from the Ohio Hospital Association.

“We are doing well from an overall hospital capacity,” said Sarah Hackenbracht, CEO of GDAHA. “We’ve seen this significant increase over the last two weeks.”

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Nurses at area hospitals are concerned as the hospitalizations begin to climb once again and bring back grim memories of the last two waves of COVID-19.

“We are expecting a third wave and we’re scared,” said Lindsey Call, a nurse at Miami Valley Hospital who has worked with COVID-19 patients. “We’ve opened a second hallway and are on the verge of opening a third.”

Call said the majority of patients she has seen have been unvaccinated and is urging others to heed to warning to get a shot.

“The first wave was of COVID was bad. The second wave was worse,” Call said. “We have to trust science and we have to trust research.”

Ohio currently has about 49 percent of its population that has at least started the first dose of a COVID 19 vaccine, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Health leaders said the vaccine is key to avoiding spikes like the state saw in the winter and last year.

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“It doesn’t have to be the same as what you’ve experienced during the first and second wave,” Hackenbracht said to nurses who were on a morning news conference.

Jennifer Lutes, a 41-year nurse at Mercy Health’s Urbana Hospital, got COVID-19 in December, just a few weeks before the first vaccines were given emergency use authorization by the FDA and CDC.

Lutes said she was in critical care for 7 days and went home on oxygen for seven weeks. She ended up being off work for 10 weeks.

“I have a passion for people getting vaccinated,” Lutes said. “It makes critical differences in people’s lives.”