COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohio’s top doctor and hospital leaders are once again sounding the alarm about the severity of the situation in Ohio’s hospitals. Between the latest surge of COVID-19 patients, caring for other patients, and staffing shortages brought on by the pandemic, they call it the “perfect storm.”

“The current surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations is putting a dangerous strain on the state’s health care infrastructure,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Director of the Ohio Department of Health. “And while healthcare in Ohio remains very safe with providers working every day to protect patients and caregivers, we are in a serious situation.”

There are currently 3,583 COVID-19 hospitalized patients across the state, according to data from ODH’s dashboard. Dr. Vanderhoff says day-to-day hospitalizations are about three times higher than they were at this time last year.

“This is an incredibly stressful time for so many healthcare providers. They’ve been really on a marathon and now they’re many miles down that road and running up hill again,” said Dr. Vanderhoff.

Hospitalizations in central Ohio are almost 20 times higher than what they were about eight weeks ago, according to data from the Central Ohio Hospital Council (COHA). Numbers from the COHA showed 32 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the central Ohio region on July 11th and 633 COVID-19 hospitalized patients as of September 16th. Intensive care unit (ICU) COVID-19 admissions over the same time period went from four to 183.

Dr. Vanderhoff says some hospitals around the state have been delaying elective procedures, some have diverted patients at times, and some have been temporarily at capacity.

“When we hear about these necessary responses, it should raise some alarm as none of us want our hospitals to get so busy that there isn’t a bed for you in the hospital if you need it,” said Dr. Vanderhoff.

A spokesperson for OhioHealth says they’re looking at moving patients into different units and making sure staff are properly trained for those patients. The spokesperson confirmed at one hospital they’re looking at moving med-surg patients into postpartum units. Doctors and hospital leaders are again urging people to wear masks and get the vaccine if they haven’t already.

“There’s got to be a community spirit, a ground swell of community spirit in this country to understand while it is an individual decision, that individual decision impacts everyone,” said Dr. Michael Canady, Chief Executive Officer of Holzer Health System.

The 21-day case average for Ohio is now over 5,800, as some Ohio intensive care units are running out of beds.

During a briefing Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine was joined by a number of leaders from the state’s children’s hospitals, all of whom discussed how rising COVID-19 cases among school-aged children is putting a strain on all of the state’s hospitals, not just children’s facilities.

According to the governor, COVID cases among children have risen nationally by 240 nationwide since early August. However, in Ohio, that increase is 2,000%.

Ohio recorded 9,019 coronavirus cases last Friday, the most during the Delta wave. It was the highest one-day total since Jan. 8 (9,535).

Just 17 days in the entire pandemic has Ohio seen 9,000 cases, and only 10 days have seen more than 10,000. The state’s highest one-day total was set on Nov. 23 with 11,885 cases.