Coronavirus: Ohioans 60+ account for 70% of hospitalizations

Ohioans 60 and older make up 70% of coronavirus hospital admissions, up from 50% in July, said Gov. Mike DeWine.

While hospitalizations had been decreasing since peaking in mid-July, data is showing that the trend is now increasing.

The governor noted that hospitalizations is a lagging indicator, meaning that information is often received later.

Data is also showing signs that hospitalizations are increasing in the western side of the state, DeWine said. The Miami Valley area is in zones 3 and 6, both of which reported increasing hospitalizations in September.

Zone 3, which includes Darke, Preble, Montgomery, Greene, Clark, Miami, Champaign and Shelby counties, made up approximately 20% of hospitalizations in the state from the end of August to mid-September. During the state’s peak in mid July it made up about 14%.

Zone 6 counties, which include Butler and Warren counties, accounted for 24% of hospitalizations in mid-September, the highest percentage for the region since early April.

The governor stressed that the state’s hospitals still are at adequate capacity at this time.

DeWine also said that hospitalizations are starting to shift from urban areas to more rural communities.

After hearing from multiple school superintendents about the number of students meeting the CDC’s definition of close contact and being quarantined, the governor said he’s asked his administration to meet with health officials to study the guidelines on student quarantine.

“We have heard anecdotally that most quarantined students are not getting sick,” he said. “I feel that it is important to have data and evidence on this before we make a change to the recommended guidance.”

His administration is also working with state lawmakers to create a plan to use CARES Act funds to help Ohioans struggling to pay rent, mortgages or utility bills. The governor said he hopes to have more details to announce soon.

DeWine said that Ohioans should look at the lessons we can learn from President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump’s diagnoses with coronavirus last week.

He said that people should also consider what steps they can take control of the virus, like wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings.

“The president said yesterday that we should not let the virus dominate our lives and that is true,” he said. “Part of that means taking the necessary measures to keep our economy open...It means taking this virus seriously and respecting this enemy. It does not mean that we have to be afraid. But it does mean that we have to be practical about it.”

DeWine noted that the president’s diagnosis shows that coronavirus does not discriminate and that anyone can get it. He noted that frequent testing isn’t a substitute for wearing a mask and social distancing.

The Ohio Department of Health is reporting 161,299 total cases of coronavirus and 4,947 deaths attributed to the virus in the state. Hospitalizations are at 15,972 and ICU admissions at 3,367.

There were 1,335 new cases and 16 deaths reported today.

On Friday, DeWine shared concerns that the state’s cases and hospitalizations were trending up. With colder temperatures on their way, health officials are concerned that Ohio could see a jump in cases this winter.

Next week, nursing homes and assisted living centers can resume indoor visits. Visitations must be scheduled ahead of time and residents can have two visitors per visit.

Facilities should consider different factors when resuming indoor visits, such as the number of cases in the facility, access to testing and supplies of personal protective equipment.

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