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‘Completely preventable’: As COVID hospitalizations steadily increase in Ohio, hospitals are prepared

Health leaders say a surge in hospitalizations is preventable and are urging people to get vaccinated.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — According to the latest from the Ohio Department of Health’s coronavirus dashboard, there are more than 700 covid hospitalizations reported Monday.

That’s more than double the number from two weeks ago.

Local health leaders say we are heading in the wrong direction and fear it may get worse before it gets better.

“A surge in hospitalizations is completely preventable," said Dr. Nora Colburn, an infectious disease physician and Medical Director of Epidemiology for the Ross Heart Hospital at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Dr. Colburn said similar to what we are seeing happen nationally, in Franklin County, there has been an increase in covid hospitalizations.

"If people get vaccinated this will protect them from being hospitalized, this will protect them from being intubated in the ICU, and this will protect them from death," she said.

OhioHealth is also seeing the number of hospitalizations increase.

"Our bed capacity is fine,” said Dr. Joe Gastaldo, OhioHealth Infectious Diseases Medical Director, “We are able to take care of the covid patients at this point in time."

At Mount Carmel, the number of COVID-19 positive patients has doubled in the past two weeks.

According to a Mount Carmel spokesperson: “While we are nowhere near the levels we experienced at the height of the pandemic, hospitalizations for COVID-19 positive patients at Mount Carmel have more than doubled in the past two weeks. Now and throughout the pandemic, Mount Carmel remains well-positioned to care for our patients and the community.”

Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts said the delta variant is becoming the dominant variant here in Ohio and that is likely what is driving the number of hospitalizations to go up.

“We will continue to see the numbers go up I don't anticipate it slowing down anytime soon," Dr. Roberts said.

When asked how concerned we should be regarding the spread of the delta variant, Dr. Gastaldo answered, "I would be fearful if I was not fully vaccinated."

This, amid another increase.

"We are seeing an increase in a demand for testing,” said. Dr. Roberts.

In the last month, Dr. Roberts said the average number of people getting tested daily through Columbus Public Health has nearly tripled.

One unexpected place you can pick up a test to take at home for free: your local library.

Testing and Community Health Centers

The kits have been available at branches across the state since the spring, however, leaders of the Columbus Metropolitan and Upper Arlington libraries said on Monday they've seen a lot more people seeking out these tests just in the last week.

"Especially with the CDC updated guidance and people are still interested in traveling,” said Kate Porter, assistant director at Upper Arlington Public Library. “So we've seen an uptick you know 25 to 30 kits every day given out this past week."

With testing capabilities and available vaccines, an urgent reminder from health leaders: covid complications can be prevented.

"The way that we get out of this is vaccination and testing at the drop of a hat,” said Dr. Colburn. “And we have the ability to do both."