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Unvaccinated Covid patients overwhelm Ohio hospitals as delta surges across state


A healthcare professional suits up with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to enter a Covid-19 patient’s room in the ICU at Van Wert County Hospital in Van Wert, Ohio on November 20, 2020.

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COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Health warned Wednesday that many hospitals in Ohio are “at, or reaching, peak capacity” as the latest coronavirus surge hits the Midwestern state.

Covid hospitalizations are “causing major problems in our state.” On Twitter, the health department stated that “the overwhelming majority of people in hospitals aren’t vaccinated.”

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This warning comes just days after Republican Ohio Governor. Mike DeWine noted a “startling rise” in state hospitalizations among young people due to the infection-driven delta variant.

“Throughout this pandemic, even in the worst of times, we were not seeing this many younger people under 50 going into our hospitals,” DeWine, 74, said in a press conference Tuesday. The rate at which they vaccinated is what makes the difference between these older Ohioans and younger ones.

Only 35% are currently vaccinated in Ohio, according to Governor John Kasich. However, 73% are among the more vulnerable people aged 40 years and older. According to state health department, Ohio has a lower vaccination rate than the United States overall. Ohioans aged 12 years and older are fully immunized at 58%. Nationally, that figure is 64%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recent weeks have seen an increase in Covid hospitalizations in Ohio. The seven-day average of patients with confirmed or suspected Covid in Ohio hospitals is 4,017, nearly double where it was one month ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by the Department of Health & Human Services. CNBC’s analysis shows that it’s below Ohio’s peak from mid-December when the average weekly number was 5,652.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, 79% of Ohio’s hospital beds were in use on Tuesday. However, the vast majority of patients are not Covid. About 80% percent of Ohio’s ICU beds are used at present. The state health department reports that 22% (or approximately) of ICU beds are occupied by Covid patients.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, this is quite high when compared to the average number of Covid ICU patients, which sits at less than 13%.

DeWine stated that 97% of Ohio’s current Covid-related hospitalizations are for people who have not been vaccinated. We know the root cause of this problem. Problem is with the delta variant. It’s dangerous. This is what’s driving the surge. The solution to this problem is simple. DeWine stated that… We need to get more people vaccinated.

According to Dr. Michael Canady (CEO of Holzer Health System), the problem of the recent spike in Covid hospitalizations is due to a lack of staffing. Holzer Health System is located in southeast Ohio, near the West Virginia border.

Canady tweeted, “I fear that if somebody comes in with an medical problem or surgical problem that would normally allow us to care for it,” in a video posted by the Ohio Department of Health.

Canady stated that although we do have physical beds and have nurses on staff, they are short of nurses. “Nurses who are tired, have left or gone to traveling agencies to get their nurses, are charging us up to $10,000 per week.” “It is very difficult. “I’ve worked in health care for over 40 years and have never felt more helpless.”

— CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report.