COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Health’s Director says COVID-19 cases in the state “have grown dramatically” and are “trending in the wrong direction.”
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff sounded the alarm at a press conference Thursday morning, along with health leaders from around the state.
Dr. Vanderhoff said that every one of Ohio’s 88 counties is averaging 400-plus new COVID cases per week. The goal, according to the CDC, is no more than 100 new weekly cases per 100,000 residents.
“The counties with the highest new cases have the lowest vaccination rates,” Dr. Vanderhoff said. “Some as low as 30 to 40 percent of the county’s population.”
Dr. Vanderhoff said it’s troubling that Ohio is in worse shape than before vaccines were available. He said COVID patients make up one in every eight of the people in Ohio hospitals and one of every five patients in intensive care units.
ICU treatment often includes intubation, in which a patient is sedated and a tube put into the patient’s windpipe in order to pump oxygen into the lungs.
“Unvaccinated patients are far and away the largest group filling up our hospital beds. This is a hospital pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Dr. Vanderhoff said. “We all need to choose to be vaccinated.”
Other health professionals at the press conference spoke about the effectiveness of masks and debunked some of the concerns keeping people from wearing them.
“It’s simply not true,” said ICU physician Dr. Hector Wong about the concern that there’s a risk of having low oxygen and high carbon dioxide exposure when wearing masks. “Another false concern is that by wearing a mask, people who have COVID will re-breathe the virus and be sick longer. That’s just not how biology works.”