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Ohio Gov. DeWine, health officials discuss COVID-19 surge’s impact on hospitals

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 11:14 PM EDT
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SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine made a stop Friday afternoon at the Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport for a news conference with state and local health officials about the impact this surge of COVID-19 is having on hospitals.

“Our hospitals are really filling up,” DeWine said.

Health officials say Scioto and Lawrence counties are both in the top five in the state for the spread of COVID-19.

“Five hundred cases a week is unsustainable for us,” Scioto County Health Commissioner Chris Smith said. “It’s unsustainable for the hospital.”

“We’ve had seven COVID-19 deaths in the last five days,” said Amy Fraulini, the SOMC Director of Critical Care.

Fraulini says SOMC looks like a war zone.

“What we desperately want to ask of our community today is to help us out and be our partner in COVID-19,” she said. “We need everybody to consider getting the vaccine.”

Fraulini said workers at the hospital are physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, and if more people got vaccinated, it would be a tremendous relief for them.

“To hear them talk and to see them work, to hear their frustration in their voices overwhelms me every day,” she said.

Fraulini says at times they haven’t had any hospital beds available, and they’ve reached out to other hospitals -- only to be told they don’t have any beds available either.

“If you’re not vaccinated, you will ultimately become ill with COVID-19,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the Ohio Department of Health director, said. “You will be infected.”

The director of the Lawrence County Health Department says they’ve had 11 COVID-19 deaths this week alone.

“When these hospital personnel are seeing these deaths and dealing with people every single day, it must be particularly hard to know those lives could’ve been saved if that person had been vaccinated,” DeWine said.

Health officials say counties in Ohio in our region are around 40 percent vaccinated. They want to see that number get closer to 80 or 90.

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