CLEVELAND — It's the countdown to Christmas, but the CDC predicts an alarming spike in COVID-19 infections, noting cases of the omicron variant are doubling every three days or so across the country.
The Ohio Department of Health is reporting some alarming numbers about coronavirus case rates, both in the state and for Northeast Ohio. Cuyahoga County is now No. 1 in the state among counties in COVID-19 case rates with 1,267 cases per 100,000 residents over a two-week span. Last week, the county was at No. 30 among 88 counties at 850.2 cases per capita. Ohio's current statewide rate is now at 783.2.
"The ERs have been busy for the past couple of months, and they are getting busy now," Dr. Robert Wyllie, the Cleveland Clinic's Chief Medical Operations Officer, said.
That number continues to inch closer to hospital bed capacity due to the sheer number of unvaccinated individuals, according to the Clinic.
"A year ago today, we had a lot more staff," Wyllie told 3News. "We were just going in the first major surge we had. We just reached those levels again, unfortunately."
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff with the Ohio Department of Health says more than 1,100 patients with COVID are currently in state ICUs for the holidays.
"Our number of patients in the ICU is almost as bad as it has ever been throughout the entire pandemic," Vanderhoff warned.
University Hospitals reports it is also seeing operations become impacted due to the surge in COVID patients. D.r Keith Armitage, the medical director of UH's Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine and Global Health, says cases are rising rapidly and there is still so much unknown when it comes to the omicron variant.
"We are going to see continued cases of the delta variant in primarily unvaccinated patients who unfortunately will be admitted to the hospitals," he added. "We are back to being in the pandemic. Last May ... I thought we were getting out of it … and then delta came."
By the end of Christmas week, the CDC now predicts a massive spike in new infections with an increase of up to 55%, which would mean 1.3 million new cases in just seven days.
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