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'We're in a serious situation': Ohio health officials urge vaccinations as COVID cases surge

49.06 percent of Ohioans are now considered fully vaccinated.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you're not vaccinated yet, now is the time to do so.

That's the message from Ohio Department of Health director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff as he provided a COVID-19 update during a press conference Thursday morning.

“Adult and children’s hospitals statewide have been sounding the alarm," Dr. Vanderhoff said. "The current surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations is putting a dangerous strain on the state’s healthcare infrastructure. While health care in Ohio remains very safe with providers working every day to protect patients and caregivers, we’re in a serious situation. Hospitals are being stretched toward capacity, not only because of the high numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations but also as a result of staffing challenges.”

We streamed the entire press conference, which you can watch in full below:

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To alleviate the current strain on Ohio's hospitals, Dr. Vanderhoff urged Ohioans to get vaccinated and "wear a mask when advised."

"The lion’s share of those who are hospitalized with COVID-19 remains those who are unvaccinated," Dr. Vanderhoff said.

Based on data released Wednesday, 53.05 percent of Ohioans have received at least one dose while 49.06 percent are now considered fully vaccinated.

Dr. Vanderhoff compared Wednesday's COVID data to the same date last year by highlighting the following details:

  • Sept. 15, 2021: 7,747 new cases and 292 new hospitalizations
  • Sept. 15, 2020: Slightly more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 and 103 new hospitalizations.

The case rate per 100,000 residents, meanwhile, is now higher than 600. That number has grown substantially, according to Dr. Vanderhoff, who notes it was down to near 17 back in early July.

When it comes to hospitalizations, Ohio currently has 3,549 patients in the hospital battling the virus. One week ago, the hospitalization number was 3,160.

  • Statewide hospitalizations: About one in six patients in the hospital has COVID; one out of four in the ICU has COVID.
  • Rural hospitalizations: One in three patients has COVID. Half of the patients in the ICU are battling COVID.