Hospital leaders make passionate plea ahead of holiday gatherings

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With Thanksgiving days away, hospital leaders are making another passionate plea

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Hospitals in the state are on the brink of being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

With Thanksgiving days away, hospital leaders are making another passionate plea – Stay within your bubble to help lower the virus spread.

“This fast, runaway freight train of a virus is spreading around Ohio,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.

This is not the situation the governor wanted us to be in so close to the holidays. Hospital leaders are just as worried, if not more.

“We can’t sound the alarm bell loud enough to the people of the state of Ohio to try and change their behavior,” said Dr. Andy Thomas, with OSU Wexner Medical Center.

They’re asking you to keep it small this Thanksgiving.

“Make sure you are keeping within your bubble. If you have family coming over, make sure they’ve been quarantining themselves away from others for 14 days prior to coming to your house,” Thomas said.

This latest surge is gripping hospitals. They’re on the brink of being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. Some have already started sharing equipment such as ventilators.

“On Sept. 23, two months ago, there were 600 hospitalizations. We’ve gone from 600 to over 4,000 in 60 days,” said Dr. Robert Wylie, with the Cleveland Clinic.

Staffing is stretched thin as more caregivers are being diagnosed or asked to quarantine. Nearly 1,000 people are out at the Cleveland Clinic.

“They are not catching it in the hospital. Our caregivers are getting COVID in the community,” Wylie said.

Mercy Health is preparing, too. Elective surgeries that require an overnight stay are being postponed and Chief Clinical Officer Dr. James Kravec says they are watching the numbers.

“We continue to keep an eye on our bed placement and the number of patients we can take care of with COVID. We have to manage that with the other patients as well,” Kravec said.

It’s starting to affect patient care. These health leaders say overflow sites like the Covelli Centre, for example, are still an option. Right now, they don’t have enough people to staff them.

“We need everybody to mask, do social distancing, particularly during the upcoming holidays and observe hand hygiene,” Wylie said.

Doctors say any virus spread from Thanksgiving will be seen in the state’s hospitals within the next two weeks.

“This comes to personal responsibility. It comes down to each and every decision we make,” DeWine said.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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