COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is “deeply concerned” about the direction the Ohio pandemic is headed, he said on Wednesday, when the state has reported the most cases in one day since January.
What you need to know
- Governor Mike DeWine said officials hope cases will peak soon, but it’s difficult to predict
- Officials in Cuyahoga and Hamilton counties expressed concern Wednesday
- The state is considering a plan to reduce school quarantines with a testing initiative
Ohio reported 6,081 new cases on Wednesday, a second straight high after Tuesday’s report of 5,914 cases.
“We are deeply concerned about what is going on,” DeWine told reporters in Columbus. “This delta variant is very contagious. It’s more contagious than what we were dealing with a year ago. “
The governor shared a comparison of Ohio’s current COVID-19 numbers with July 9, which marked a low point before the current spike began.
- Hospital stays from 200 to 2,468. gone up
- Intensive care admissions rose from 56 to 716
- Increase in ventilation use from 44 to 418
State officials hope the numbers will peak soon, but DeWine said it was difficult to model the future.
“Those are just very, very difficult numbers, and of course there is an individual behind each number,” said DeWine.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine expresses concern as several schools switch to distance learning due to COVID-19. The governor urges schools to introduce masking. @ SpectrumNews1OH pic.twitter.com/EX6Jgia6cI
– Pete Grieve (@pete_grieve) September 1, 2021
Officials in Hamilton County held a press conference early Wednesday to warn residents that COVID-19 has once again become a serious threat in the area.
Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said hospitals in the Cincinnati area are seeing high volumes of patients between the ages of 50 and 60, a shift from previous months when most cases were under 70 and older.
“We continue to see the rate of those who end up in the hospital increasing at a truly unprecedented rate,” he said. “We’re definitely going in the wrong direction at the moment. We haven’t peaked yet – we still have a way to go. “
Cincinnati Children’s Chief of Staff Dr. Patty Manning reported a “dramatic increase” in both children who tested positive and children who had to be hospitalized.
The number of children’s hospitals in the area is nearing the level of the peak months of last winter, and this time hospitals are busy with non-COVID patients too, she said.
“Our entire pediatric health system is currently under stress and strain. By that, I mean our emergency rooms, emergency care, family doctor offices, and community doctors have some of the highest patient numbers they will ever see. Our testing capacity – everything is under stress and strain, ”she said.
Officials in Cuyahoga County shared a similar message on Wednesday, warning during a press conference that the rising numbers could mean significant disruption and stress for hospitals in the coming days and weeks.
“Well I know this sounds like a broken record, but COVID is just getting worse,” said Armond Budish, executive director of Cuyahoga County. “The more our numbers rise, the higher the probability that the school will have to be dismantled again. It’s not just schools – businesses, restaurants, concerts, nightlife – all of these things will be affected again if our positive cases don’t wear off. “
Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan said he feared a spike in COVID-19 deaths is imminent.
“Unfortunately, we are also preparing for an increase in deaths that could follow an increase in hospital admissions, intensive care bed use and ventilator use,” he said.
As of the last update on Tuesday, Ohio reported 137 weekly COVID-19 deaths, up from 81 last week and 68 two weeks ago.
With COVID-19 impacting the return of Ohio students to the classroom, several schools have been forced to stop face-to-face learning due to rising COVID-19 numbers. DeWine said this could be avoided if school districts adopted mask duties.
“If they had a mask mandate, in most of these schools only a fraction of these children would actually have been outside,” he said.
The governor said that with no vaccinations or masks, districts will continue to face challenges keeping their students in school.
“If we don’t do either of those two things, we’ve already seen this week and last how difficult it will be to keep our schools open,” he said.
Ohio Director of Health, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, held a conference call with representatives from schools in Warren County on Wednesday to discuss a pilot program that would allow schools to quarantine fewer students while taking tests, DeWine said.
If an unmasked, unvaccinated student is exposed at school, they could avoid quarantine by getting tested and masking themselves. The governor said Ohio had an adequate supply of rapid tests that could be made available in schools for this purpose.
“If this is successful in this study we’re going to be doing with Warren County’s school systems, we hope to introduce it and make it available to other schools in Ohio,” he said.