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Despite sharp COVID-19 case increase, NW Ohio hospitals have adequate beds, equipment

Even with the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, hospital leaders in Ohio are not worried about bed or equipment shortage, though staffing could become an issue.

TOLEDO, Ohio — As COVID-19 hospitalizations sharply rise in Ohio, the Northwest Ohio Healthcare Emergency Management Coalition, which would decide if overflow space for COVID-19 patients is needed at the SeaGate Centre, said there's no need to set up an alternate care facility yet. 

A spokesperson for the coalition said, "With adequate beds and equipment available to care for COVID-19 and other patients in northwest Ohio’s hospitals, there is no need at this time to set up an alternate care facility." 

Northwest Ohio's 32 hospitals, which are members of the coalition, are still following their internal surge plans to care for increases of coronavirus patients, the spokesperson said.

As part of the regional collaboration to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is part of a statewide effort, SeaGate Convention Centre would be used as an alternate care facility only if northwest Ohio’s hospitals need a “relief valve” due to a surge in COVID-19 patients.

The coalition's spokesperson said information about potentially using the SeaGate Centre as an alternate facility will be announced if the need arises. 

This comes as we continue to see a sharp increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state. But as of now, hospitals say they have adequate beds and equipment. 

Meanwhile, staffing in hospitals is quickly becoming an issue. Health experts warn if we don't get COVID-19 under control, staffing levels at medical centers across the Buckeye State will continue to decrease.

"We were primarily concerned with the availability of limited global supplies, personal protective equipment, coupled with high demand for critical care and ventilator beds," Ohio Department of Health chief medical officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhof said Monday. "What we are seeing now as cases surge is an increasing demand on our staff. Every county in the state."

In some Ohio hospitals, staffing shortages are already happening. 

"What we're seeing is we're getting a lot of our caregivers who are coming down with COVID. We have over 300 out at the Cleveland Clinic alone today," Dr. Robert Wyllie of the Cleveland Clinic said Monday at a joint press conference.

Experts say we all have a personal responsibility to fight back and the guidance hasn't changed. Stay home when possible, wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands often.

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