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‘Feeling the weight of the surge’: Hospital stress continues as Ohio COVID cases plateau

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says although it appears the delta surge has plateaued, hospitals continue to face unprecedented challenges.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Department of Health’s director said in a virtual briefing Thursday it appears the delta surge has plateaued and even though cases are starting to slow hospitals are still overwhelmed.

“They are really feeling the weight of the surge right now,” said Dr. Vanderhoff. “They continue to face capacity challenges as they continue to fight to save as many lives as possible every day.”

Dr. Adam Mezoff, Chief Medical Officer at Dayton Children's Hospital, said Thursday that the hospital is now at the point where they have to make decisions daily about whether to turn patients away.

“Our beds are literally full,” he said.

Dr. Mezoff added that doctors are starting to see more pediatric cases of COVID-19 in the hospital and MIS-C, a multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children associated with the virus. He said it’s the first evidence of a long-term health impact of COVID-19 for children.

He said most of the children hospitalized with COVID in Dayton are school-aged and to date, none of the pediatric patients are vaccinated.

He said in the last several weeks nearby school districts that have issued new mask mandates saw COVID cases decrease by two-thirds. For local school districts that do not require masks, incidents went up by 30%. Dr. Mezoff encouraged school leaders to institute those mandates until a vaccine is available for kids.

And speaking of that, Dr. Vanderhoff was optimistic Thursday that soon, a vaccine will be made eligible for the 5 to 11 age group.

“I think we're getting very, very close,” said Dr. Vanderhoff. “One of the important milestones has in fact been crossed, and that is that the manufacturer has formally submitted the request for review and consideration of their product for administration to this age group.”

He continued to say, “as I look ahead at some of the scheduling that I see for the FDA Advisory Committee and the ACIP, it really looks to me that like they are planning to have those meetings occur by the beginning of November. So that's very, very encouraging. And I would expect that we're probably only a matter of weeks away from a decision and hopefully that will be a positive decision.”

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