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COVID-19 Hospitalizations Hit New Record As Ohio Cases Spike

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center on March 30, 2020.
David Holm
Ohio State Wexner Medical Center on March 30, 2020.

Ohio hospitalizations for COVID-19 have hit a pandemic record high for the second day running.

Ohio Department of Health data out Thursday also shows coronavirus cases remaining at historic levels. State data shows 5,466 people in the hospital with COVID-19, or one of every five patients.

Gov. Mike DeWine and hospital administrators around the state say the vast majority of those in the hospital are unvaccinated. The case surge has created long lines outside health clinics and at pop-up sites as thousands seek out testing.

The governor has ordered a total of 2,400 members of the Ohio National Guard into hospitals to help overwhelmed staff. Guard members are providing medical services as well as helping out in other areas of hospitals where workers themselves have often fallen ill to the virus.

The Ohio Department of Health reported 18,942 Ohioans have tested positive for probable or confirmed cases on Monday.

This is one of the highest totals since the pandemic began. And health officials are bracing for more as people who gathered for holidays begin to show signs of COVID infection. Increased case levels are an indicator of future increases in hospitalizations.

As the omicron variant spreads through Ohio and the rest of the world, many who experience cold symptoms are wondering if they could have caught COVID. Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said there’s high demand for tests too.

“To the tune of about 40,000 plus a day and more than a quarter of a million Ohioans were tested just in the week leading up to Christmas,” Vanderhoff said.

Vanderhoff said he knows the actual numbers might be even higher if everyone who tested positive on rapid at-home tests reported that outcome. While the state distributed 1.4 million of those tests during December through libraries and health departments, they are now in short supply and there’s no word on when new stock will become available.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.