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Coronavirus

Many Ohio Hospitals Reaching Capacity With COVID-19 Patients

A nurse pulls a ventilator into an exam room where a patient with COVID-19 went into cardiac arrest at St. Joseph's Hospital in Yonkers, N.Y on April 20, 2020.
John Minchillo
/
AP
A nurse pulls a ventilator into an exam room where a patient with COVID-19 went into cardiac arrest at St. Joseph's Hospital in Yonkers, N.Y on April 20, 2020.

Hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients is dwindling in some parts of Ohio as the respiratory illness continues to rage due to the delta variant.

Lucia Walinchus, executive director of the Ohio Center for Investigative Journalism, or Eye of Ohio, said hospitals in Dayton, Akron and Toledo have been hard hit. Recently, Dayton had only 32 medical/surgical beds available, Toledo had 10 and Akron only had just nine available.

“In terms of hospital capacity, which is the number of beds available, we actually have fewer beds available right now than we did in sort of the heart of winter,” Walinchus, said.

Last November, after a seven-month battle, Eye on Ohio won its case to access data collected by the Ohio Hospital Association. Walinchus said the numbers provide a window to hospital access for COVID-19 patients in Ohio.

“On August 11, we had 353 COVID patients, so that’s about 7% of ICU capacity,” Walinchus said. “Fast forward two weeks and yesterday we had almost double the number of COVID patients which was almost 13% capacity.”

Columbus is holding its own with available hospital beds for COVID patients. On August 17, in Columbus, the availability of medical/surgical beds reached a high of 291. Then the number dropped to 189 available on August 20.

Columbus had 60 ICU beds available last week. The lowest ever number of available ICU beds was one on July 25, 2020. Walinchus said there could be multiple reasons why Columbus’ capacity is not in critical condition.

“They have more beds available which is actually we can speculate is that because they have a higher vaccination rate or is it because they’ve just been better about having more beds in general,” she said.

More people getting vaccinated in Ohio could help, Walinchus said. Ohio has had 51.9% of the population fully vaccinated and 47.8% of the population receive one dose of the vaccine through Monday, according to data from the CDC.

“When vaccines came in we saw a huge decrease which was great and that lasted for a while, but unfortunately the numbers are climbing again,” Walinchus said.

On Wednesday, Ohio reported 4,600 new cases, the highest daily total since January. The 21-day average is 2,739 cases per day. The state also reported 225 new hospitalizations, well over the 21-day average of 124, and 19 ICU admissions.