Ohio sees record number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations as second wave continues

COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have hit an all-time high at 5,060 people hospitalized with the coronavirus across Ohio as compared to just under 1,700 COVID-19 patients on November 1. Of Ohio’s currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients, there are 1,180 individuals in intensive care units and 682 people are on ventilators.

According to Dr. Andy Thomas, Chief Clinical Officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, one-third of ICU patients across Ohio have COVID and one-third of individuals on ventilators have COVID.

“COVID patients are going to start crowding out other people who need that level of care as these numbers continue to rise,” said Dr. Thomas. “The reality is that hospitals are making difficult decisions about delaying care. It may be non-urgent care, but it’s care that may cause someone to go to the ICU after surgery. A lot of hospitals are delaying those surgeries because they can’t afford their ICUs to be overtaxed.”

Dr. Thomas reported that rural areas are being hit particularly hard right now, and several hospitals are beginning to voice concerns about their ability to manage such a high number of intensive care patients. As the total number of COVID patients grows, smaller community hospitals will be unable to expand their intensive care capacity.

For individuals who traveled over Thanksgiving, Dr. Thomas urged them to quarantine upon return to Ohio to break any possible chain of transmission.

COVID-19 INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM

Governor DeWine today announced a new program to help improve indoor air quality and reduce the transmission of COVID-19 at senior living facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living centers, and adult day centers.

The $28 million program was created using federal CARES Act funding to address indoor air quality through HVAC inspections, portable air filtration systems, new filtration systems, maintenance on current systems, and other interventions. Eligible recipients can receive up to $15,000.

“As we move into colder months and spend more time inside, proper ventilation and filtration are even more important to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor DeWine.

The program was approved by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors at a special meeting Wednesday. BWC will administer the program and applications are available at bwc.ohio.gov. Additional questions about the program should be emailed to grants@bwc.state.oh.us.

STATE OF OHIO EMPLOYEES

Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Ohio, Governor DeWine has delayed Ohio’s plan to resume in-person work at state-owned facilities. A gradual, phased approach was expected to begin in January. Governor DeWine also encouraged other employers to allow employees to work at home to the extent possible.