COLUMBUS — Ohio appears to be just days away from the half-million mark for total COVID-19 cases, as Thursday’s total added another 8,921 cases for a total of 446,849 cases with 6,753 deaths during the pandemic.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced at his briefing that 5,142 patients are currently hospitalized with 1,204 of those in the ICU.
“We’re in a really difficult spot here, and we’re just now heading into the most challenging three months of this pandemic,” said Dr. Andy Thomas, Chief Clinical Officer of the OSU Wexner Medical Center. “ICU beds are the area of capacity where we have the biggest strain across the state — especially in rural areas.
“We still haven’t seen the impact of Thanksgiving in our hospital numbers,” he added. “Usually, people are admitted a week after they’re diagnosed. This is not the beginning of the end. This is not even the end of the beginning.”
Dr. Nora Colburn, Associate Medical Director for Clinical Epidemiology at OSU Wexner, said, “The bottom line is — non-COVID patients are being crowded out of the system and won’t be able to get the care they need to stay healthy. We all must do our part to stop the spread of the virus.
“We will be overwhelmed if things don’t change,” she said. “Hospitals around the state are delaying non-emergency procedures. This will impact routine healthcare. People need their diagnostic screening procedures.”
Ohio will receive close to 100,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine by mid-December, Gov. DeWine announced.
The brief but promising details provided the first look at what vaccine distribution will look like in Ohio as the number of cases, deaths and hospitalizations continue to rise at staggering rates. The Pfizer doses require two for each person taking the vaccine, meaning the initial distribution will only impact around 49,000 Ohioans.
Also Thursday, DeWine made good on earlier threats and vetoed a bill that would restrict the state Health Department’s abilities to issue public health orders during emergencies.
The governor said he would provide further details about the state’s vaccine plan Friday but did disclose the partnership the state will have with CVS and Walgreens pharmacies to provide the vaccine to nursing home patients and staff.
The number of Ohioans applying for unemployment claims remains high despite a slight week-over-week decrease in initial filings, according to figures released Thursday.
The news comes as Ohio remains under a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and many counties have issued stay-at-home orders as coronavirus cases continue to spike. Hospitalizations for the coronavirus are also at record highs.
The Department of Job and Family Services says 27,750 Ohioans filed initial jobless claims for the week ending Nov. 28. That’s an 8% drop from the previous week, but higher than claims filed in the first two weeks of November.