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'We must find a way to push back this tsunami': Ohio medical professionals report from the front lines on the battle against COVID-19

More than 3,800 patients in Ohio are hospitalized due to coronavirus, with 943 of those in the ICU.

CLEVELAND — After announcing the latest coronavirus numbers in the state of Ohio, including the news about Franklin County moving to level four (purple), Gov. Mike DeWine used his Thursday briefing to talk to medical professionals working on the front lines against COVID-19.

The message from some of the state's medical professionals comes as Ohio is in the middle of another surge in patients who are hospitalized. As of Thursday, the state is up to 3,829 COVID-19 patients who are currently in the hospital, with 943 of those in the ICU. These are the highest patient counts Ohio has had during the pandemic.

Cheryl Herbert, a Senior Vice President at OhioHealth and a registered nurse for more than 40 years told DeWine that "healthcare workers need help and we need it now. Beds for critically ill patients are going to get harder to come by. We must find a way to push back this tsunami. Stay home, wear a mask, stay socially distant, do not gather for Thanksgiving. This is so important."

"If you haven't had COVID, be grateful. If you have had it and have recovered, be grateful - there are many others who haven't," Herbert added.

Erin Russo, Director of Clinical Education for Memorial Health, had this grim message: "We can manufacture equipment and supplies, but we can't manufacture staff members skilled enough to care for the large-scale influx of patients."

That message was also given by Bruce White, CEO for Knox Community Hospital in Knox County.

"Earlier in the pandemic, we were worried about PPE, the issue now is manpower. I work with amazingly dedicated people - every day they perform miracles, but they can't perform magic," he stated. 

The medical briefing portion of the news conference ended with Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer of the Ohio Department of Health. Dr. Vanderhoff tried to finish with a positive message. "We'll have a vaccine soon, so let's celebrate the holidays small and safe - so that next year, we'll be able to celebrate as normal, grateful that we're through this storm," Dr. Vanderhoff said.

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