COLUMBUS, Ohio — Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the decline in Ohio, state health officials announced Thursday, expressing a "renewed hope" that the end of the pandemic could possibly be in sight.
Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations reached a pandemic high earlier this month. For the past 10 days, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says those hospitalizations have slowly declined.
According to Vanderhoff, northeast Ohio -- formerly considered a hotspot for the virus -- has seen the steepest drop with hospitalizations declining by 24% in just the past week. The news comes in wake of President Joe Biden's announcement that the Cleveland Clinic would be one of several hospitals nationwide receiving federal help with its COVID-19 response.
"Certainly, the signs of a downturn that we're seeing in some parts of the state -- especially those that have recently been so severely impacted by COVID-19 -- do bring us renewed hope," Vanderhoff said in part.
Even so, Vanderhoff said the reality is that many parts of the state are still experiencing a rise in hospitalizations fueled by omicron.
Currently, Ohio is averaging 22,000 new COVID-19 cases every day. While hospitalizations are trending downward, health officials reported the state's second highest day for hospital admissions on record on Wednesday.
"So, despite some encouraging signs, our hospitals remain strained," said Vanderhoff.
In southwest Ohio, hospitals reported a 14% increase in ICU admissions compared to last week. Western Ohio saw a 13% increase.
As the impact of the virus shifts throughout the state, so do resources. The Ohio National Guard is currently redirecting services from Cleveland to other areas throughout the state. Additionally, Vanderhoff said Summa Health System in Akron will soon receive federal help.
According to Maj. General John Harris, the Ohio National Guard works with the state health department to determine where to send guard members based on data projections.
Currently, Harris said roughly 400 National Guard members are in the process of disengaging from the Cleveland area and will soon head to Dayton and along the southern part of the state.
You can watch Thursday's full briefing below: