TOLEDO, Ohio — The pandemic is taking a toll on our caregivers.
Medical health professionals say we're headed down a path no one wanted, especially with a COVID-19 vaccine available.
John Palmer, the director for public affairs with the Ohio Hospital Association says its members are tired.
"Caregivers, especially if you're ICU taking care of patients around the clock, it definitely is taking a toll over the last 18 months. Mentally and physically, they're really frustrated. Especially when we know we have a vaccine that's effective," said Palmer.
On Monday night, all of Toledo area hospitals reached a tipping point, which forced them to go on EMS bypass and weren't accepting ambulances.
"I'm not really surprised about it because we have seen the increase in our numbers. But it is quite shocking to hear with emergencies occurring," said Gina Musa, a nurse practitioner with Great Lakes Urgent Care in Perrysburg.
Great Lakes Urgent Care is seeing some of the overflow, and Musa says urgent care should be an option when people need urgent medical care, which is care that doesn't require the ER.
"I want people to know that we're here for acute issues, not to always run to the ER. The ER is for emergency issues; people that are having strokes and heart attacks. We're here for the testing that can be done for urinary tract infections, for the viruses going around," said Musa.
So what's driving this trend, and what's pushing our hospitals to the brink?
Palmer says just last week about 40 percent of hospitals in the state reported staffing needs.
"Really get to pretty serious situations with the intensive care units. And these are hospitals services that are not just for COVID-19. They're really 24/7 operations that are designed to help with emergency services," said Palmer.
Palmer says what Ohio hospitals are going through is not unique.
"We're seeing this happen in other states and in the South, where waiting lists are now established for ICUs. They're actually looking at crisis standard of car- type plans of prioritizing patients," said Palmer.
The Great Lakes Urgent Care says you can call 419-872-5343 to reach their offices located at 25660 N. Dixie Hwy in Perrysburg if you're questioning how you feel, or you can visit its website at perrysburgurgentcare.com.
They say it usually takes about an hour to get you in and out the door.