CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia is seeing a record number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations. Health care providers in Ohio are also teaming up to ask the community for help as numbers continue to cause alarm.
“So today we have more people in West Virginia hospitals than at any other point during the COVID pandemic,” said Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia COVID-19 Czar.
The numbers continue to grow. As of Monday, there were 852 people in West Virginia hospitalized with COVID-19 including 267 in intensive care units and 162 on ventilators. Marsh said there is a common thread.
“About 90% of those in our ICUs are unvaccinated and between 91 and 93% of our citizens who have COVID on mechanical ventilators are unvaccinated,” Marsh explained.
The West Virginia Hospital Association said right now having enough people to provide the needed care is a major obstacle.
“While there has been talk of overflow facilities, the reality is we don’t have sufficient staff,” said Jim Kaufman, President and CEO of the West Virginia Hospital Association.
Several hospitals in Ohio have signed a letter addressed to the people in their community warning them of the possible impact if things continue.
“The decision was made to really come out to the public with a plea for help knowing that most patients in the hospital with COVID are those who are not vaccinated,” explained Joseph Gastaldo, Infectious Diseases with OhioHealth. “So we want people to be partners with us to allow us to provide healthcare to everybody and to free up capacity for non-COVID patients.”
It is a situation providers warn is a risk to everyone needing care not just those with COVID-19.
“The real-life impact is happening now. With bed capacity being very tight, specifically ICU capacity, there may be a scenario where somebody has a heart attack or is in a bad car accident and God forbid they go to the hospital and there are no beds available,” Gastaldo said.
For breaking news delivered to you, subscribe to WFXR’s breaking news email list