Hospital officials from around the state of Ohio are laying out a dire situation as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in record numbers. While preserving hospital space and equipment is a challenge, the doctors said there's a much more pressing concern at the moment.
Hospitals around Ohio are running low on staff. The Cleveland Clinic alone has more than 970 caregivers sidelined either because they have COVID-19 or they've been exposed to the virus.
Dr. Andy Thomas of Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center says hospitals will have to start diverting staff by canceling non-emergency outpatient procedures, delaying in-patient surgeries, and even pulling in primary care physicians.
"Asking them to come back and work shifts in the hospital is really going to be the only trigger we have left to pull to help with our staffing needs if this continues to go unevaded in the next month," says Thomas.
Hospitals have overflow plans ready in places like arenas and convention centers, but Thomas says they would still need the personnel to staff them.
On Monday, Ohio had 11,885 new cases of COVID-19 reported. However, Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) added a disclaimer to explain that two large labs, Mercy Health and Cleveland Clinic, were not able to report data for two days. That means the latest numbers include outstanding numbers not reported over the weekend from those labs.
The state also has a backlog of positive antigen tests that must be confirmed through further testing before added to the final tally. As of Monday, the state had 15,000 positive COVID-19 cases using antigen tests that had yet to be double checked.