COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine turned Monday to the Ohio Hospital Association to discuss the recent increase of coronavirus cases in the state.
As of Monday, Nov. 9, a total of 254,974 (+4,706) cases have been reported in Ohio since the pandemic began, leading to 5,524 (+7) deaths and 20,651 (+154) hospitalizations. It was the second straight day of new cases being below 5,000 after they surged past that number on consecutive days last week.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, incoming chief medical officer of the Ohio Department of Health, said that while state hospitals are better prepared than they were in the spring with protective equipment and patient capacity, there are concerns of staffing issues if the virus continues to spread at its current pace.
The concern is a high number of physicians, nurses and other health-care professionals becoming ill and being unable to work.
“When they have to quarantine, they cannot be at the bedside,” Vanderhoff said.
Although no policy changes were announced, Vanderhoff said limiting some elective and non-urgent procedures may be considered eventually.
DeWine has split the state into three zones to track the needs and concerns of hospitals in dealing with the pandemic, for northern, central/southeastern and southwestern Ohio.
Dr. Andrew Thomas of Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center and one of the zone chairpersons said that, based on the recent spike in total cases and hospitalizations, it may be 2-3 weeks before non-coronavirus care starts to get crowded out.
And Dr. Robert Wylie of the Cleveland Clinic, another zone director, said he was encouraged Monday by early data suggesting a vaccine developed by Pfizer being 90% effective.
“Now is not the time give up, now is the time to double down,” Wylie said.
All continued to emphasize the importance of wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and avoiding large gatherings in limiting the spread of the virus.