Ohio health officials see surge in pre-holiday cases – Community News
Covid-19

Ohio health officials see surge in pre-holiday cases

The number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is on the rise in Ohio as vaccination rates lag behind other states — a dangerous combination with cold weather and approaching holidays, experts say.

According to the Department of Health, 12% of tests came back positive in the most recent documented week, compared to a 7-day average of 9.5% earlier this month. The state also reported 6,382 new cases on Wednesday, the highest one-day total since early October.

In Franklin County, cases of COVID-19 are up 37% in the past week, said Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts.

“This is not how we wanted to enter the Thanksgiving and December holidays,” Roberts said.

Health officials say Ohio is in better shape than it was a few months ago when cases and hospitalizations rose due to the highly contagious delta strain. Still, hospital leaders have seen an increase in COVID-19 patients this month, and they worry that the number will remain stable as people begin to gather indoors for the winter and holiday.

Nurse George Tazi, left, gives the COVID-19 vaccine to Justin Barney, right, at Columbus Public Health on Friday, August 6, 2021. Barney, of Old Towne East, received a $100 gift certificate for getting the vaccine.

For example, at Summa Health in Summit County, 105 people were hospitalized on Wednesday, after the number of patients dropped to 60 a few weeks ago. OhioHealth has seen about 200 to 240 patients nationwide since early November, and infectious disease specialist Dr. Joe Gastaldo doesn’t expect this to change anytime soon.

Statewide, more than 2,800 people have been hospitalized since Wednesday.

“This virus is not going away,” Gastaldo said. “We all have a date with this virus.”