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Northeast Ohio's hospitals preparing in case counties go to highest COVID-19 alert level

Cuyahoga County is among those near the 'purple' coronavirus risk level.

CLEVELAND — Ohio’s COVID-19 positivity rate is now at 7% and hospitals are preparing for a surge in cases. Dr. Dan Simon, President of University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center says they’ve seen a jump from 25 to 66 cases in the last few days.

They have their surge plan ready to go if needed.

“We have a 300% surge plan so we can go from 1700 beds across the health system up to 5100 and that plan is on the shelf and ready to go and our goal right now is to load balance and keep hospitals running,” Dr. Simon said.

His concern right now is the fact that Ohio is third in the nation for college student infections according to a New York Times University Tracker.

Those students will soon be going home for the holidays and that could cause another swell in cases.

Here’s what spokespeople from other local hospitals said about their current situations.

CLEVELAND CLINIC 

We are seeing more cases, but we are not having issues with capacity at this time.

For some context, throughout July, we saw increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients in our hospitals, including in our ICUs. In August and into September the numbers of hospitalized patients declined, but over the last few weeks, we have experienced an uptick in cases again. The largest increases in patients being diagnosed with COVID-19 has continued to be in younger patients with COVID-19. However, we are seeing more older patients (age 55+) being admitted due to COVID-19. Younger patients with COVID-19 tend to have a lower frequency of hospitalization and less need for ICU care than other age groups

At this time, we have adequate bed capacity across our system, including in the ICUs. We also have sufficient PPE and ventilators to meet the needs of our patients.

We are able to care for COVID-19 patients at several locations within the health system, and where patients are treated is determined based on their clinical condition and individual needs.

There are no plans to place overflow beds in the Medical School at this time. 

SUMMA HEALTH 

Summa Health is currently is treating 27 patients at our Akron and Barberton campuses. We continue to have available capacity and also have plans in place to expand the number of available beds as needed. With that said, having capacity should never be seen as a substitute for responsible behavior. It is critical that people wear their face mask, practice appropriate social distancing, utilize proper hand hygiene and avoid large crowds and indoor gatherings. We also strongly encourage people to get a flu shot.

At the start of the pandemic, Summa Health implemented strategic plans across our system to accommodate a potential surge in patients. These plans remain in place. In addition, we continue daily collaboration with our colleagues across the region; including other healthcare organizations, community organizations and health departments. We also continue to evaluate all aspects of space, equipment and staffing. 

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