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Ohio hospitals struggling to keep up with new patients, dwindling staff due to COVID-19 cases

One doctor told 3News that "hundreds" of staff members and healthcare professionals within the University Hospitals system are currently sidelined due to COVID.

CLEVELAND — Northeast Ohio has been no stranger to long COVID testing lines and struggles to find a kit to take home, and it's no different the Monday after Christmas.

Cars snaked through Downtown Cleveland as word gets out that the public library is re-stocked with COVID-19 tests. Library workers hand the small boxes through the window before quickly moving on to the next eager visitor.

It's very different than the site in local pharmacies.

3News called a dozen location across the Cleveland area, and only one knew for sure they would be getting a re-stock this week.

Without that testing available it will put us clear back to December of 20 when we had very little testing available and that made it very hard to control the disease," Donna Skoda, Summit County health commissioner said.

300 people will be tested in Summit County tomorrow; the website for the new testing site says no more appointments are available.

"So, we're hopeful that it will relieve some of the stress of people trying to get tested, particularly if you're sick for disease control or if you're in a work situation," Skoda said.

And while those on the outside test themselves following holiday get-togethers, inside the hospitals, many are being sidelined with positive COVID tests.

"It's hundreds in the UH system," Dr. Strostaker with University Hospitals said.

This is at a time where more hands are needed, not less.

"We're seeing total numbers of COVID patients in our hospitals more than double where it's been in a peak any time in the pandemic for us," Strosaker said.

Dr. Strosaker says the issue with hospital staffing is being compounded by the fact that they were already facing staffing issues before they had this many workers out sick. 

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