Ohio’s top doctor discusses uptick of pediatric COVID cases as delta variant continues to spread


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) – Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, held a press conference Wednesday afternoon with medical experts to discuss the spread of COVID-19 across the state.

Discussing much of what was talked about during Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s press conference Tuesday, which Dr. Vanderhoff was also part of, medical officials continued to express the importance of COVID vaccines and mask wearing for all Ohioans.

Vanderhoff said that 1 and 13 patients in Ohio hospitals is battling COVID-19. Ohio still has enough hospital beds and ventilators for those battling the illness, Vanderhoff said, but there is heightened concern that other states are choosing to forgo some elective surgeries.

Pediatric Intensive Care Specialist Michael Forbes from Akron Children’s Hospital spoke on the rise of pediatric COVID cases in the state.

“Last year we did not see a lot of pediatric COVID,” Dr. Forbes said, explaining that this year is almost like a new pandemic, with more children being seen at his hospital in recent months.

As children under the age of 12 are still not eligible to be vaccinated, Vanderhoff doubled down on the importance of mask wearing in schools.

Among those who are eligible, the vaccination rate for those between 12 and 18 is more than 54% in Ohio, according to ODH. The vaccination rate is 46% statewide among all age groups.

Dr. Craig Dues an Emergency Medicine Physician at Mercer Health also spoke about what he’s seeing at his hospital. In June, he said, there were no inpatients, now they’re averaging about three new patients a day.

In general, Vanderhoff pointed out that while breakthrough COVID cases are rare for those who already were fully vaccinated, testing is still key.

He said if you have symptoms or have been around someone who contracted it, you should get tested. He also said it’s a good idea to go get tested if you are heading to a big event, like a wedding.

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