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What is the status of Northeast Ohio hospitals as COVID-19 cases climb?

As Covid cases move some hospitals in other states close to or at capacity, local hospitals give a status update on where they are.

CLEVELAND — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise around the country, we’re again seeing hospitals pushed to the brink. Some ICUs in places like Montana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Texas have reported be near or reaching capacity.

“We’re definitely in a fifth wave right now, I’d say,” says MetroHealth Division Director of Internal Medicine, Dr. David Margolius. “The cases are about as high as they were in March of 2021.”

In Northeast Ohio, MetroHealth, University Hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, and Akron Children’s Hospital all say they’re not worrying about being to the point of turning folks away, but that they are seeing a rise in cases. In fact, officials with Akron Children’s Hospital said that Tuesday was their highest single-day yet for children hospitalized with COVID-19. While their pediatric critical care unit is full, they’re managing resources.

“We’re certainly seeing a high volume of COVID patients, like every other hospital,” says Dr. Robyn Strosaker, the COO of University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. “We’re fortunate to be a part of a very large system and so our teams have been working very hard to assure that we are able to care for all the patients who need our care, both COVID and non-COVID, in the system.”

As cases continue to rise, hospitals are also dealing with another issue.

“I think what makes this time harder is there’s a labor shortage right now in all sectors of the economy,” says Dr. Margolius. “The combination of COVID with less people who are able to work right now is making things difficult.”

Even with fewer workers and more OVID-19 hospitalizations, both Dr. Margoulis and Dr. Strosaker say they don’t see it affecting other surgeries and procedures anytime soon.

“When we postponed elected procedures as part of the state mandate back in the spring of 2020, we saw that there were real health consequences,” says Dr. Strosaker. “We’re very committed to do all that we need to do to be able to assure that we can care for both Covid and non-Covid patients.”

To put into context where hospitals in Ohio are right now, just a few months ago on July 17, COVID patients made up just one in every 60 patients. Fast forward to today and they now make up one in every six. It’s a drastic change that all the hospitals say can be curtailed, while keeping them open and seeing people, if folks get the vaccine and wear a mask.

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