CEDARVILLE, Ohio — Over the last week or so, the number of day-to-day cases of COVID-19 has risen to record levels in the state of Ohio.
On Tuesday, Ohio topped another record since the start of the pandemic with 216 coronavirus hospitalizations reported in a 24-hour period. The 216 hospitalizations is 50 more than the state's previous record from July.
In addition, Gov. Mike DeWine reported that the state currently has more COVID-19 patients in hospital beds that at any time since the pandemic began.
"In the past day, 2,015 new cases have been reported in Ohio, and our numbers continue to rise at a rate that should concern all of us," DeWine stated during his bi-weekly COVID-19 news conference. "These numbers are grim. They are going in the wrong direction."
DeWine also noted that 69 of Ohio's 88 counties now meet the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's definition of High Incidence. "COVID-19 is running rampant in some of these counties," the governor added.
As the COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in the state, DeWine noted on Tuesday that at least 16 school districts in Ohio have reverted back to online learning in the past two weeks. DeWine said 50 districts in the state are currently at remote status, with some 300,000 students learning from home.
"It should concern all Ohioans that so many of our kids are going to school remotely. While many kids can do well under these circumstances, many cannot. Some of our poorest children who thrive in an in-person learning environment do not do nearly as well online," DeWine said.
Infectious disease experts are concerned about the upward trend. "This pandemic has followed a very predictable trend," said Dr. Claudia Hoyen, infectious disease specialist at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland. Hoyen also addressed social media comments that made light of the record daily hospitalizations, noting that 216 didn't seem like much to them in a state with 240 hospitals.
"I can understand where [they] are coming from, in that there's [an average of] less than one person in each hospital. That might be how it works out, but what we know will come is that more people will end up in the hospital," said Hoyen. She called the new data a warning for Ohioans to wear face coverings, socially distance, and wash hands, so that hospitals won't have a capacity problem 4-5 weeks from now.
The Ohio Department of Health publishes daily data on the state's shrinking hospital capacity, due in part to Covid-19. The state is divided into 8 regions. In region 2, which includes Cuyahoga, Lorain, Lake, Geauga, and Ashtabula counties, approximately 23-percent of total hospital beds are available as of October 20. In region 5, which includes Stark, Summit, Portage, and Medina counties, approximately 27-percent of beds are available, as of October 20.