COVID-19 hospitalizations at Springfield hospital triple; health officials urge vaccination

Clark County residents get their COVID vaccine shots at the Clark County Combined Health District's vaccine distribution center at the Upper Valley Mall on Feb. 23. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Clark County residents get their COVID vaccine shots at the Clark County Combined Health District's vaccine distribution center at the Upper Valley Mall on Feb. 23. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

The Clark County Combined Health District and Mercy Health are urging residents to get vaccinated and practice COVID-19 safety guidelines as local hospitalizations have nearly tripled in the last week.

On March 17, nine people were hospitalized for COVID-19 at Springfield Regional Medical Center, according to the CCCHD. On Wednesday, 29 were hospitalized with the virus.

Hospitalizations aren’t the only COVID-19 statistic that has spiked in Clark County. On Thursday, the county reported 253.6 cases per 100,000 people between March 10 and Tuesday, according to the Ohio Department of Health. That’s the highest COVID-19 incidence rate in the state of Ohio.

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As a result of the spikes, the CCCHD and Mercy Health issued a joint statement encouraging residents to mask, social distance, wash their hands and “complete a vaccine regimen.”

“Vaccinations, in conjunction with hand washing, mask-wearing and continued social distancing, remains the only way we will be able to successfully manage the COVID-19 virus,” Cheif Clinical Officer of Mercy Health - Springfield, Dr. Paul Buchanan said. “Now, more than ever, we must not let our guard down. We will get through this together.”

The health district and Mercy Health “strongly recommend” individuals 16 and older schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Gov. Mike DeWine opened up eligibility for all residents over 16-years-old, regardless of health conditions or occupation, on Monday.

“Everyone, including low-risk individuals, is encouraged to get the vaccine,” the statement said.

Vaccination appointments for next week are open at three of Clark County’s providers. But none of the providers will be offering the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccination, which has been popular and in-demand in the county.

Scheduling is available at the following location:

  • The CCCHD, in partnership with Mercy Health, is scheduling appointments on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling 937-717-2439 or online at
  • The New Carlisle Community Health Center, located at 106 N. Main St., will schedule appointments by phone at 937-543-0310.
  • Rocking Horse Community Health Center, located at 651 S. Limestone St. will be offering the vaccine by appointment only during varied hours. Rocking Horse patients will take priority. Valid identification and insurance information will be collected. No one will be turned away due to insurance status. To schedule a vaccine appointment, contact 937-525-4521.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” CCCHD Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said. “Following safety protocols is still our best line of defense against the virus until more people in our community are fully vaccinated.”

A new regional coronavirus mass vaccination site could open at the Dayton Convention Center by Wednesday with an expected 5,000 doses a week, Gov. Mike DeWine said on Thursday.

The expected opening day is dependent on when vaccine shipments arrive, the governor said. Dayton was one of 15 locations selected across the state to host a regional mass vaccination site earlier this month.

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Other locations include Cincinnati, Columbus, Wilmington, Lima, Chillicothe, Marietta, Zanesville, Youngstown and Maumee. In addition, four mobile vaccination sites are scheduled to operate in Ada, Athens, Steubenville and Mansfield.

The sites are open to anyone in Ohio ages 16 and older. Most will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but some may also offer the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

Ohio is scheduled to receive its largest vaccine shipment so far next week with 571,460 doses set to arrive, DeWine said. The vaccines will be a combination of Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer.

On Thursday, Ohio reported 1,501 daily cases, according to ODH. The number is in line with the state’s 21-day average of 1,509 cases a day.

“We are seeing a plateau in cases,” DeWine said. “Cases were dropping and have leveled out.”

Throughout the pandemic, the state has recorded 1,006,171 total cases, according to ODH.

Data on statewide hospitalizations, as well as county-specific data on cases and deaths, was not available on Thursday afternoon as the state’s system was down.

“The program that powers the state’s COVID-19 dashboard is currently experiencing downtime worldwide,” a statement on the state’s dashboard said. “There is not an estimated timeline for restoration.”

Facts & Figures:

9: Residents hospitalized for COVID-19 at Springfield Regional Medical Center on March 17

29: Residents hospitalized for COVID-19 at SRMC on Wednesday

Source: Clark County Combined Health District

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