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'The next wave': Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals experts hold joint COVID-19 briefing

The panel discussed concerns about a winter surge in cases, a 'Twindemic,' and more during a one-hour discussion.

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: The video in the player above is from a previously published, unrelated story.

The Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals came together to hold a media briefing with several COVID-19 experts on Thursday. 

The briefing provided an update on the current status of COVID-19 in Northeast Ohio, the local hospitals, vaccines for children, booster shots and more.

The following people participated in the press conference: 

  • Robert Wyllie, MD, Chief of Medical Operations at the Cleveland Clinic
  • Hassan Khouli, MD, chair of the Department of Critical Care Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic
  • Daniel Simon, MD, the president of Academic and External Affairs and Chief Scientific Officer at University Hospitals
  • Claudia Hoyen, MD, the Director of Pediatric Infection Control at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital

The good news, according to Dr. Wyllie, is that more Ohioans are continuing to get the coronavirus vaccine. As of Thursday, 55% of the state has received at least one dose, while 51% are fully vaccinated.

However, that still leaves a large percentage of the population vulnerable to a surge this winter. 

"I would not be surprised to see an uptick again in November, December, and January," Dr. Wyllie said. "But there is an opportunity to mitigate this by getting more people vaccinated and for those need boosters, to get them." 

RELATED: As a COVID-19 vaccine inches closer to approval for young kids, why are some parents hesitant about this vaccine and not others?

Dr. Hoyen spoke of fears of a "twindemic," and advised Ohioans to get their flu shots in addition to getting vaccinated for COVID-19. "Respiratory viruses have been running rampant," she said. 

In addition, Dr. Hoyen expressed her concerns about the long-term impact that COVID-19 is having on children. Specifically, she mentioned MIS-C, or multisystem inflammatory syndrome.  "It can be quite serious and these patients can require ICU care. Many of them have developed myocarditis." Dr. Hoyen pointed out that there is also an issue of "long COVID" in children, who are suffering from brain fog and fibromyalgia-like symptoms after contracting the virus.

The two hospitals released the following joint statement ahead of the briefing:

“In accordance with our ‘Stronger Together’ pledge to collaborate for the benefit of our community to address challenging public health needs, experts from Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals will provide an update on the current state of COVID-19 in the area. In Northeast Ohio, we recently endured another surge in COVID-19 cases that put pressure on our local health systems. Cleveland Clinic and UH experts will discuss when we may face the next wave, implications for children and holiday gatherings, as well as provide an update on vaccines, boosters and new developments in therapeutics.”

You can watch Thursday's briefing in the player below

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This briefing comes a few days after the state of Ohio updated its quarantine guidance for schools regarding COVID exposure.

In Ohio, hospitalizations and positivity rates have been on the decline although 3,839 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Wednesday by the state.

RELATED: Ohio allotted 347,000 COVID vaccine doses for ages 5-11 in first week once given approval

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