COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health cited what officials are calling a dramatic rise in hospitalizations linked to COVID-19 during a press conference on Thursday.
Statewide, hospitalizations for the virus are roughly 10 times higher than what they were in early July, according to Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff.
This comes as cases continue to rise in the state. Vanderhoff said all counties currently are reporting more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents. In counties where virus spread is highest, health officials noted only 30 to 40 percent of residents had started the vaccination process.
Statewide, the vaccination rate sits at 52 percent.
As of Wednesday, the Ohio Hospital Association says one in eight patients is in the hospital with COVID-19, and one in every five people in the ICU is being treated for the virus.
Of the 2,500 Ohioans currently battling COVID-19 in hospitals, more than 750 patients are in the ICU, and more than 450 patients are on ventilators.
“This is trending in the wrong direction,” said Vanderhoff.
In rural hospitals, one in four patients are hospitalized, while one in three are in the ICU with COVID-19.
“This is a hospital pandemic of the unvaccinated,” said Vanderhoff, adding less than 2.5 percent of people hospitalized between January and present day were fully vaccinated.
According to ODH's website, 21,584 people who have not been fully vaccinated have been hospitalized since Jan. 1, 2021. Less than 550 fully vaccinated people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state since the same date.
Since Jan. 1, 7,167 Ohioans who were not fully vaccinated have died from COVID-19. Since the same date, 80 fully vaccinated people have died from COVID-19.
Health officials have urged those eligible to get vaccinated as more children return to the classroom.
Earlier this week, officials with Nationwide Children’s Hospital warned about a rise in children being hospitalized with COVID-19. As of Monday, five children were in the hospital's ICU being treated for the virus.
At Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Head of Critical Care Hector Wong said the single most effective tool to combat the pandemic is for parents to make sure their children are vaccinated, if eligible.
"Clearly, what we could say a year ago that kids weren't getting sick from COVID, we can no longer say now," said Wong.
You can watch Thursday’s briefing in the player below.