COLUMBUS, Ohio — As we are learning more about the spread of the new variant, on Wednesday Ohio saw a significant increase in the number of people in the hospital for COVID-19.
John Palmer, the director of media and public relations for the Ohio Hospital Association said it’s a trend that will not be manageable if it continues.
He said it will put more strain on hospitals that never caught a break from that delta-driven surge this late summer and fall.
Staffing also remains a concern, so it's not so much about the beds available, but the workers able to provide an increased demand for care.
"We're facing a lot of tough decisions, a lot of challenging times,” Palmer said.
According to the OHA dashboard, one in four patients in Ohio's intensive care units is there because of COVID complications. One in six patients in the hospital is COVID positive.
“When you see surge, it's happening and multiple regions are impacted. That really becomes problematic,” he said.
He said that strain on hospitals means you could start to see some of the changes we've seen before, like visitation policies and services like surgeries being rescheduled or delayed.
"It's really a huge race to get ahead of this virus before we see other variants start emerging. Because that will be a game-changer that will set back any progress we make."
Filling open positions is still a challenge according to Adena Health System and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
In regard to the latest hospitalization numbers, a spokesman for Adena Health said the current COVID census remains in the 30s which is what it has been the last few weeks.
At Wexner Medical Center a spokeswoman said: “hospitalizations and capacity are on par with what we saw in mid-October.”
A spokesperson for Mount Carmel sent the following statement:
“While Mount Carmel remains below last winter's peak COVID-19 census, we are currently seeing an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations. The pandemic has exacerbated the already critical staffing shortages healthcare organizations are facing throughout the country and within our own community. However, we remain well-positioned to provide safe, high-quality care to our patients.”