COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — While still dealing with a wave of COVID-19 cases caused by the delta variant, hospitals are now bracing for an outbreak from the omicron variant.
“We all have COVID fatigue, including myself, but this is not a time to get relaxed with a more contagious omicron variant in our community,” said Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, infectious disease specialist with OhioHealth.
The latest numbers in Ohio show more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported Saturday, along with 434 deaths being reported Friday. The 21-day daily case average now exceeds 7,900, which includes a backlog of cases reported Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week.
Saturday’s reported 10,124 new cases is the most the state has seen since January 2021.
On top of that, local hospitals, especially the emergency rooms, are becoming overrun with COVID-19 patients and not enough staff.
“Roughly one out of five patients in the intensive care unit, and close to that same number of all patients in the hospital, are COVID patients,” Gastaldo said.
Meanwhile, over at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, they’re experiencing the same.
“There’s not a lot of space in the hospital, especially the ICUs,” said Dr. Nicholas Kman, emergency physician for the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “The staffing of the hospitals is strained, so there may be floors where there’s beds available, but there’s no nurses or doctors to take care of those patients.”
To make matters worse, doctors said the peak of flu season is nearly here.
“And that’s going to just add to the number of patients that we have to see in the hospital, including the number of patients in the ICU,” Kman said.
To help combat this crisis, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered more than 1,000 National Guard members to help hospitals with staffing shortages starting Monday.