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More Than 500 Ohioans Hospitalized For COVID-19 In Last Day

Riverside Methodist Hopsital in Columbus, Ohio.
Like all hospitals in Ohio, Riverside Methodist Hopsital in Columbus has been told to cancel all non-essential and non-elective surgeries.

Ohio continues experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 cases, and hospitals are feeling the impact – 538 people were hospitalized with the disease in the past 24 hours.

“We are at a very high capacity when it comes to COVID-19 patients,” says Dr. Joe Gastaldo, OhioHealth medical director of infectious disease. “We have a lot of COVID-19 patients.”

OhioHealth does not publicly disclose specific COVID-19 patient numbers. But Gastaldo says there are many who stay for stay for weeks at a time.

“When COVID-19 patients come here, particularly to the ICU, they are typically here for a very long time,” Gastaldo explains. “As a quaternary referral hospital, we get a lot of patients who are transferred here who require a higher acuity of care.”

He says OhioHealth is in regular contact with Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center, Mount Carmel Health System and Nationwide Children’s Hospital about ways each health system can help one another fill in the gaps of patient care.

“I do recall in 2020, OSU did need help with an overabundance of prison patients with COVID-19. So that conversation piece still happens, with the four healthc are systems talking to each other on a daily basis," Gastaldo says.

Across the board, OhioHealth is experiencing its highest rates of COVID-19-related issues since the pandemic began.

“The leading indicator is COVID activity in the community,” Gastaldo says. “The lagging indicator are deaths, people in the ICU, people on ventilators and people with hospitalizations.”

OhioHealth isn’t the only hospital system dealing with increased admissions. Memorial Health in Marysville says admissions for all medical conditions, including COVID-19, have substantially increased in the past 24 hours.

Of all current inpatients, 28 percent are being cared for based on a COVID-19 diagnosis. Chief Medical Officer Doctor Jason Russell says the availability of skilled staff is a greater concern than space or equipment. Some staff are currently isolating or quarantining because of the results of contact tracing.

Russell says it appears all other hospitals in the zone are dealing with a sudden spike in admissions as well.

Health care experts predicted a surge in COVID-19 cases after the winter holidays, something that Ohio Department of Health medical director Bruce Vanderhoff expects soon.

"We've not even begun to see if there will be an additional impact from our holiday week," Vanderhoff said at a press conference Tuesday.

Vanderhoff says Ohio's coronavirus hospitalizations are currently three times what they were in November, and seven times what they were in October.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.