Local doctors: Predictors show COVID-19 cases may peak soon, but number of pediatric cases continues rising

Credit: DaytonDailyNews


Credit: DaytonDailyNews

It appears the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. may peak soon, possibly next week, but the decline of cases may be more gradual than the sharp increase seen earlier this year, according to two local health officials.

However, the delta variant is having a greater impact on children, especially those who have returned to school and are not wearing masks.

Officials gave a one-hour community update presentation Friday morning. Dr. Roberto Colon, system vice president of quality and safety for Premier Health, and Dr. Keith Bricking, president of Atrium Medical Center, talked about the importance of vaccinations and their impact on the number of cases.

Colon was asked when COVID-19 will end. He said some predictors say the number of cases in the U.S. has peaked and is slowly flattening out.

In Ohio, he said, the peak may occur next week, then slowly flatten.

Colon said children are the fastest growing age group of new cases of COVID, accounting for 25%. He said school districts that are requiring their students and staff to wear masks are seeing 50% less COVID-19 cases with the students. He recommended all students should wear masks until the “current wave” of cases subsides.

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Bricking said when it comes to public education about the dangerous of COVID-19, “facts and numbers are important.”

For the second day in a row, Ohio exceeded more than 8,000 daily COVID-19 cases in Friday’s daily update, according to the Ohio Department of Health. The state recorded 8,447 cases in the previous day, the second-highest daily case number reported in the last three weeks.

Ohio is averaging 6,349 cases a day in the last three weeks and 7,186 cases a day in the last week.

Ohio reported 206 deaths Friday, bringing its total to 21,471, according to ODH. It’s the highest number of deaths report in the last three weeks.

For the third day in a row, more than 3,500 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Ohio. The state recorded 3,557 hospitalized patients, with 994 in the ICU and 607 on ventilators.

As of Friday, more than half of Ohioans have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, including 64.3% of adults and 62.2% of those 12 and older. About 49.3% of residents have finished the vaccine, including 59.8% of adults and 57.6% of those 12 and older.

Colon and Bricking stressed the importance of vaccines, mask wearing, social distancing and hygiene, the same message for the last 18 months.

“Vaccines are critical to our success,” Bricking said. “So vaccines, vaccines, vaccines.”

He also said Atrium will start offering vaccinations to those who seek medical treatment in the emergency department starting Wednesday and to inpatients starting Oct. 6. He stressed these are not vaccine clinics.

Colon said those who recover from COVID-19 should still get vaccinated as a way to add “even more protection.”

He said some couples have expressed concerns about the vaccination impacting their fertility. He said the vaccine provides “zero risk” and there have been no complications from vaccinated women who became pregnant.

Colon was asked about the possible impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on peoples’ mental health. He said typically when there’s a natural disaster, a hurricane or tornado, the event lasts for a short time, followed by a period of recovery.

But because the pandemic has lasted for more than 18 months it’s like we’re in “a never ending natural disaster. You’re in the middle of it all the time.”

Companies must “recognize it’s real” and provide counseling and group sessions to their employees, if necessary, Colon said.

“We got to take care of people,” he said.

Staff writer Kristen Spicker contributed to this report.

Dr. Keith Bricking, president Atrium Medical Center
Dr. Keith Bricking, president Atrium Medical Center