COVID-19 hospital counts a lot compared to last year | News, Sports, Jobs


ST. CLAIRSVILLE – Hospitals in the region are seeing an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients comparable to the height of the pandemic in 2020, and this is only expected to get worse.

Garen Rhome, administrator of the Harrison County health department, said the problem was widespread.

“Generally speaking, what we are seeing in terms of the cases, they are comparable or worse cases at the beginning of January of this year, the difference being that in January, we were at the lower end of the curve”, he said. “We seem to be on the rise of a curve at the start of a push. We see cases like November, December of last year.

“A lot of times you’ll see 7,500 cases a day reported in Ohio and you can go back and say, ‘Well, it hasn’t been that high since January. The difference was that we were going down then, in January. Problem is, it mimics how we were in November and December.

“Here in Harrison County, in the last 10 day week, we look like November 30 through December 30. 15, the first half of December at this time, and not necessarily a sign of reluctance to this uptrend. We still see cases arriving in large numbers every day, unfortunately ”, Rhome said.

Rhome looked at hospital trends and referred to Ohio Hospital Region 8, which includes Belmont, Harrison, Monroe, Guernsey, Jefferson, and other counties in the southeastern state.

He said the pressure was on at Harrison Community Hospital.

“Our community hospital is considered a critical access hospital, where most COVID patients certainly don’t stay here. Most could go to the emergency room and then they are moved somewhere. Typically nowadays in the WVU hospital system ”, he said.

Referring to the current intensive care bed capacity across Region 8, as reported by the Ohio Hospital Association’s daily census, Rhome said late last week that there were 613 beds for total hospitalization in the region, and less than 20% of beds are unoccupied.

Rhome said 121 are unoccupied and 172 are occupied by COVID hospital patients, or 28%. He said it’s the highest in the past two or more weeks.

“It is a striking and astonishing statistic”, Rhome said. “There are 78 intensive care beds according to the Ohio Hospital Association’s daily census in Region 8, of which 48 (Thursday) are occupied by COVID patients.

“This represents 61.5% of intensive care beds in region 8”, he said. “Only eight intensive care beds in region 8 are unoccupied. “

He said patients from different parts of the region may end up in the bed of another hospital.

“They follow and have to move patients to different regions”, he said, adding that Southeastern Med in Guernsey County and other systems in Zanesville and Marietta have moved patients north to the Harrison County area.

“It’s in the same region, but they are moving patients to the north where there are more accessible beds”, Rhome said.

“We know from information shared by hospitals that the vast majority of ICU hospital patients and ventilator patients are not vaccinated. The great, great majority ”, he said.

He said on September 14 in Cambridge, the south-eastern Mediterranean reported 13 positive cases of COVID, one was vaccinated and the other 12 were unvaccinated.

“Among these patients, four of them are in intensive care. These four are not vaccinated. Three other ventilated patients, all three unvaccinated ”, he said.

About six of Harrison County’s current cases were hospitalized as of Thursday.

“And we always see revolutionary cases in general”, he said. “Between 10 and 15%, a fully vaccinated person is infected with COVID-19, but that’s not necessarily a big statistic. It just shows that the vaccine is really, really good at preventing infection. It is very robust and very powerful at preventing serious infections that require hospitalization, intensive care, ventilators and even death. If we see that 10 or 15% of our cases are revolutionary cases, it still does not translate into hospitalized cases. … This shows the effectiveness of the vaccine. It is still resistant to COVID and all variants. “

Meanwhile, Belmont County Assistant Health Commissioner Robert Sproul said on Wednesday that Belmont County had recorded 8,096 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, with 6,903 recoveries, 1,059 active cases, nine people hospitalized and 125 virus-related deaths, the latest being a woman in her 40s.

Around the same time last year, there had been 729 confirmed cases with 672 recoveries, 27 active cases, five people hospitalized and 25 people who had died after being infected.

Demand is also high at Wheeling Hospital.

“This year’s outbreak is different from last year as it affects much younger patients. Patients occupy intensive care beds, which increases the strain on the healthcare system. Watching younger and younger patients get sick is also very difficult for staff. We need the public to watch how the increase in cases is affecting healthcare and do their part and get vaccinated ”, Thea Gompers, director of marketing and public relations at Wheeling Hospital, said.

Bernie Albertini, chief administrator of East Ohio Regional Hospital, said EORH currently has about three intensive care beds and 20 medical emergency beds, but said staff shortages, which are an industry-wide problem, are the problem rather than bed shortages.

He said EORH currently has six COVID cases filling the beds. He couldn’t compare this to last year, as the EORH was not open during last year’s outbreak and its opening coincided with the availability of vaccines.

Albertini said about 95% of current COVID cases go unvaccinated.

WVU Medicine Barnesville and Harrison Community Hospital CEO David Phillips has joined the hospital leadership across Region 8 with a public letter trying to communicate the need in hospitals.

“Bed availability is limited throughout the area due to the power surge. This is a much more difficult situation than at any time before in the response to COVID-19. Most of the people requiring hospitalization and higher levels of care are those who are not vaccinated ”, said Phillips.

“Barnesville Hospital and Harrison Community Hospital have seen a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases compared to the same period last year,” said Phillips. “Due to the increase in the number of cases and the pressure on the local health system, the majority of hospitals in the region have limited or no bed capacity to transfer critical patients.”

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