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Coronavirus

Marietta Leading Ohio In Rate Of COVID-19 Hospitalizations

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.

Health officials are sending an urgent message in southern Ohio's Washington County as COVID-19 patients overwhelm area hospitals.

“We’re drowning in positivity,” said director of nursing at the Washington County Health Department, Angie Rarey.

Rarey said children are leading the latest COVID-19 cases at Marietta Memorial Health System's three hospitals in the city.

"We're actually seeing more younger people than we are older people right now,” Rarey said. “In the early parts of the year a lot of the elderly got vaccinated and the kids didn't, so now the kids are getting it and they're spreading it to everybody."

A New York Times report compiles data from state and local health agencies. It finds that Marietta in Washington County leads Ohio for the rate of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at 83 per 100,000 residents. Dover is second at 79 per 100,000 residents and Chillicothe’s rate is 64 per 100,000 residents.

The daily average for patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state is 3,673. That represents a 42% change over two weeks ago.

Rarey said her health department had recommended mask-wearing for all students before school began.

"With the start of the school season all the superintendents refused to do mask-mandates despite what we recommended,” Rarey said. “But, given the positivity rates, I believe all of them have started masking this week."

With hospitals full, COVID-19 patients are being diverted where space is available, sometimes as far as Columbus, she said.

Rarey explains Marietta’s close proximity to Parkersburg, West Virginia could attract patients from that state.

She said the message has to soak in that everyone can help stop the further spread of the virus.

“We’re recommending that people stay home if they’re sick,” Rarey said. “We’re recommending that they follow the CDC quarantine guidelines wearing masks indoors, especially if you’re in any sort of crowded distance where you can’t socially distance...get vaccinated.”