COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Hospital staff shortages are a real possibility if Ohio’s COVID-19 surge continues, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

ODH held a Friday afternoon news conference to address the growing number of hospitalizations related to COVID-19. ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff was joined by hospital officials from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, UC Health, and the Cleveland Clinic.

“Ohio’s COVID-19 case numbers are 10-times what they were a month ago,” Dr. Vanderhoff said. “Unvaccinated Ohioans are filling hospital beds.”

Earlier this week, some OhioHealth hospitals announced they were pausing elective surgeries due to bed and staff shortages.

Nurses, respiratory therapists, and other front liners are simply burning out and leaving, the doctors said.

“We can help relieve the pressures on our hospitals by choosing to be vaccinated,” Dr. Vanderhoff said, otherwise the influx in COVID patients will greatly affect patients seeking treatment for other medical emergencies, such as stroke or cancer.

The Ohio doctors said they’ve been forced to turn away patients from southern states who are seeking hospital beds, calling it, “a very difficult decision to make.”

The easy decision, according to the doctors, is to get vaccinated.

The more people who get vaccinated means Ohio will be “closer to the day when this virus will no longer upend our lives,” Dr. Vanderhoff said.