There were more than 1,400 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Ohio on Thursday, with 21 new confirmed deaths. The numbers of people hospitalized with the coronavirus are also at their highest levels so far in the pandemic, but the state’s hospitals say they’re ready.
There are 1,100 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ohio, higher than at the previous peak in the spring.
Dr. Deborah Birx from the White House coronavirus task force told officials on a private call that there are 12 cities with increasing levels of virus spread - including Cleveland and Columbus.
The Ohio Hospital Association president and CEO Mike Abrams said the system is at 72% capacity, a number that sounds high but is expected.
“In the event that we would see a surge beyond what the hospitals could accommodate, we have buildout plans in all three zones throughout the state and we could delay procedures again if it got to that," Abrams said.
No hospitals or ICUs are operating at or close to 100% capacity, according to the state's hospital association.
While Gov. Mike DeWine said the state is at a tipping point, he notes that unlike a few months ago, facilities now have those buildout plans in place should a surge happen.
Spikes in COVID-19 cases in Florida have overwhelmed hospitals there. Intensive care beds in Texas have been filling up, and for the first time in history, officials in Arizona have activated protocols to prioritize treatment because beds are becoming scarce.