COLUMBUS, Ohio — State health officials detailed the "dangerous strain" COVID-19 has put on Ohio's hospitals during a press conference Thursday.
"As you've heard over the past few days, adult and children's hospitals statewide have been sounding the alarm," said Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff.
Vanderhoff cited the decision from some hospitals to reschedule elective procedures in order to provide room for patients fighting the virus.
"The current surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations is putting a dangerous strain on the state's health care infrastructure," said Vanderhoff.
In an effort to combat capacity issues, Vanderhoff encouraged Ohioans with mild, routine health concerns to avoid hospitals and instead try calling their provider first.
"I've been in health care over 40 years and I've never felt so helpless," said Michael Canady, chief executive officer of Holzer Health System.
Just on Wednesday, Canady said one of their facilities performed surgery on a patient for a possibly life-threatening issue.
"Our urologist was able to take care of it in the operating room, but then we didn't have a bed in the hospital for them to go to," said Canady.
As of Wednesday, the 21-day reported case average in Ohio sits above 6,000. Also on Wednesday, health officials reported an additional 292 hospitalizations in the state.
That's up from this same time last year, when Vanderhoff says 103 hospitalizations were reported in a 24-hour period.
Statewide, over 3,500 patients are battling COVID-19 in hospitals as of Wednesday, with more than 900 in the ICU. Almost 600 with COVID-19 are on ventilators.
According to Vanderhoff, the cases and hospitalizations are reminiscent of what was seen during last year's winter surge.
"Our daily hospitalizations are about triple what they were last year, and the reason is simple," said Vanderhoff. "The delta variant is aggressively seeking out anyone who lacks immunity and is making many of them very sick."