Ohio sees record hospitalizations for COVID patients younger than 50

Ohio is reporting record hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients younger than 50, with nearly 400 people admitted to the hospital during the week of Sept. 5, Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday.

From Sept. 5-11, 398 patients under the age of 50 were admitted to the hospital with COVID-19. It’s the highest number of patients admitted to the hospital in a week for that age group during the pandemic, DeWine said.

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In January of this year, about 16% of the state’s hospitalizations were people younger than 50. By July, that number doubled to 32%, the governor said.

“The bottom line is that we’re seeing our highest levels ever of hospitalizations among those under 50 years old,” DeWine said. “The clear difference between these younger Ohioans and older Ohioans is the rate of vaccination.”

As of Wednesday, 24,335 patients who weren’t fully vaccinated have been hospitalized since Jan. 1, according to ODH. During that same time, the state report 744 hospitalizations among those fully vaccinated.

While hospitalizations are increasing, Ohio hasn’t surpassed its peak during the winter surge. However, this time hospitals also have a staffing shortage.

ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said that plans created last year to combat overflowing hospitals aren’t pertinent today because facilities don’t have the staff available.

“The issue that we’re talking about here today is staffing,” he said. “You simply don’t train an ICU nurse quickly. It is a long process.”

Health care workers from across the state said health care systems are offering different incentives, such as signing bonuses, to appeal to nurses.

When asked if requiring staff to be vaccinated could be contributing to the shortage, University of Cincinnati Health Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Program Director Dr. Suzanne Bennett said she thinks that remains to be seen.

“I don’t think we know the answer at this point,” she said. “I think people are continuing to talk about how to deal with that in the event that it does present itself.”

Bennett added that the state needs to do whatever it can to encourage people to get vaccinated.

“We can’t continue to do what we’re doing,” she said. “The best thing to do is to get vaccinated so we reduce the resources that we need based on the current nursing shortages that we have.”

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In the last day, 459 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Ohio, according to ODH. It’s the highest number of daily hospitalizations since Jan. 12, when the state reported 486 hospitalizations, DeWine said.

Forty-seven ICU admissions were reported Tuesday, the highest amount recorded in at least three weeks.

Ohio’s 21 day average is 233 hospitalizations a day and 21 ICU admissions a day as of Tuesday.

The state reported 3,715 COVID-19 patients in Ohio’s hospitals, including 1,037 patents in ICUs and 660 on ventilators. Coronavirus patients account for 14.1% of the state’s hospital beds, 21.94% of ICU beds and 13.9% of ventilators.

Ohio has 5,521 (20.9%) hospital beds, 929 (19.65%) ICU beds and 2,928 (61.67%) ventilators available, according to ODH.

The state is also seeing younger Ohioans die from COVID, DeWine said.

In July 48% of deaths were among those 69 and older. Preliminary data from August shows an average of two people younger than 50 died from COVID in Ohio every day, the governor said.

The state reported 125 deaths on Tuesday, bringing its total to 21,596. It’s the fourth time in the last three weeks Ohio has reported more than 100 COVID deaths.

ODH updates death data twice a week. The data can fluctuate because other states do not regularly report death data to ODH’s Bureau of Vital Statistics.

The day a death is reported does not reflect the day the death occurred.

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In the last day 6,814 COVID cases were reported in Ohio. The state is averaging 6,572 cases a day in the last 21 days.

As of Tuesday, 53.45% of Ohioans have started the vaccine series, including 64.58% of adults and 62.47% of those 12 and older.

More than 49.5% of the state’s residents have finished the vaccine, with 60.08% of adults and 57.88% of those 12 and older completing their inoculation.

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