COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine this week provided an update on the increased impact that COVID-19 is having on Ohio’s younger populations and the stress that the surge of cases is having on hospitals statewide, according to a news release from his office.
“The bottom line is that we’re seeing our highest levels ever of hospitalizations among those under 50 years old,” said DeWine. “Those who are getting very sick, being hospitalized, and dying of COVID are getting younger and younger. And it is because they are not vaccinated.”
As of Tuesday, there were 459 newly-reported hospitalizations, the highest number of new hospitalizations since January.
The number of new hospitalizations for COVID-19 of those under 50, was the highest during of the entire pandemic during the week of Sept. 5, when Ohio hospitals admitted 398 patients under the age of 50.
During the most recent completed reporting week (Sept. 5 — Sept. 11), 230 Ohioans 39 and younger were admitted to the hospital, which is the highest number of admissions for COVID in this age group during the entire pandemic, even higher than during the winter surge levels when no one was vaccinated.
Around 97 percent of patients of all ages in Ohio hospitals today are unvaccinated, according to the news release.
In July, 48 percent of COVID-19 deaths were among those 69 years old and younger. In August, preliminary data shows that an average of two people younger than 50 died of COVID-19 in Ohio every day.
Last month, preliminary numbers showed 18 Ohioans 39 and younger died from COVID-19. This is compared to five people in that age range who died in June and two people in that age range who died in July.
The governor’s news release also included the following quotes from those in the medical field.
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Director, Ohio Department of Health
“If you are young and unvaccinated it’s now probably only a question of when, not if, you get COVID-19. When you get COVID-19 without the protection of a vaccine, there is a very real risk you’ll end up in the hospital or the obituary pages. The numbers really tell it all, COVID has changed and is now making younger Ohioans who are not vaccinated very sick. Don’t become a statistic when there is a simple, safe, and effective alternative. Go out today and get vaccinated.”
Suzanne Bennett, M.D., Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Program Director, University of Cincinnati Health
“These rising numbers of sick COVID patients places a significant burden on our hospital beds, our medical teams, and worse yet, it creates scenarios that no one wants to think about where we do not have the space for patients who would otherwise benefit from receiving their care at large academic medical centers. We now need the help of the people in our community more than ever so that no one else needs to die from this disease.”
Alan Rivera, M.D., Hospitalist, Fulton County Health Center
“We are in a crisis mode. As compared to last year, our nursing staff is down probably 50 percent. We have nurses leaving the field, retiring early, or finding jobs elsewhere because of the long hours and the emotional strain. On top of that, our COVID numbers are now going up. In June and July I didn’t see any COVID patients. Now, the majority of the census in our hospital are COVID patients, and they’re younger, anywhere from 30 to 50.”
Joe Bates, R.N., B.S.N., Clinical Coordinator, Critical Care Unit, Genesis HealthCare System (Zanesville)
“We’re seeing the younger population being hit hardest with this right now. Our average age right now that we’re seeing is around 59, with many of them being younger, as compared to last year when the average was about 78 years of age. Of the COVID positives that we currently have in the ICU, none of them are vaccinated who are on the ventilator.”
Terri Alexander, R.N., P.C.C.N., Summa Health (Akron)
“It’s just a sad, sad situation that we’re dealing with, and it’s tragic because it’s just so preventable. Please, please, please, get vaccinated. We live in a culture that has never experienced coming to the hospital and getting turned away, and I think people can’t fathom what that’s truly like until its them or their family members who are coming in and getting turned away.”
Information provided by the office of Gov. Mike DeWine.