Area hospitals are overwhelmed as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Clark County for the sixth consecutive week, health officials said Friday.
There were 649 confirmed cases this week, up from 546 last week and 414 the previous week, the Clark County Combined Health District announced during its weekly coronavirus update.
Clark County also reports an 18% positivity rate for those testing for COVID-19, said Clark County Combined Health District Communications Coordinator Nate Smith. He and NAACP Springfield Chapter President Denise Williams updated the community on the state of the coronavirus in the county.
As of the start of the pandemic, 23,712 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the county, according to the Ohio Department of Health. More than 400 COVID-19 deaths have also been reported in Clark County.
As cases increase statewide, Ohio’s hospitals continue to report strain from staff shortages and an influx of hospitalizations.
To assist hospitals with staffing shortages related to COVID-19, Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday ordered 1,050 Ohio National Guard members into Ohio’s hospitals.
Smith and Williams said locally, the virus has impacted the area’s hospital for weeks, with the hospital mirroring the statewide trends of being near or at capacity, as well as reporting staffing shortages and fatigue among workers.
“We continue to see pressure put on our healthcare system,” Smith said. “That pressure trickles down from the state all the way to our local area.”
The Ohio Department of Health reported that since the beginning of the pandemic, 754 COVID-19 hospitalizations have been reported in Clark County.
“We are not joking,” said Williams. “Today, this is very serious news.”
Smith and Williams also discussed measures Clark County families can take this holiday season to protect themselves and their loved ones against the virus. Regular handwashing, the use of facemasks when possible, and physical distancing are recommended.
Having home COVID-19 tests on hand could also prove to be useful as families plan to gather. Tests are widely available at local pharmacies, and the Clark County Public Library systems offers free tests at its five branches.
Vaccination is also a measure one can take against the virus. According to the Ohio Department of Health, 48% of Clark County has completed its vaccine series.
The CCCHD COVID-19 Vaccination Center at 110 W. Leffel Lane in Springfield is offering vaccinations. Those seeking a dose can call 937-717-2439 to schedule an appointment.
With the exception of Memorial Day this year, every holiday has been followed by a rise in cases locally, according to the health district.
By the Numbers:
48: Percentage of Clark County residents who have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series
23,712: Total number of coronavirus cases reported in Clark County
402: Total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Clark County