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Southern Ohio Hospital ICUs At Or Near Capacity Due To COVID Surge

The Southern Ohio Medical Center in Portsmouth.
Southern Ohio Medical Center
The Southern Ohio Medical Center in Portsmouth.

Some Ohio hospitals are reeling from the recent uptick in COVID cases due to the delta variant on top of existing staffing shortages.

The Ohio Hospital Association’s John Palmer said two Southern Ohio hospitals have already hit their ICU capacity and he fears others could do the same soon. The problem, he said, is hospitals just don’t have enough staff.

“We have plans in place to help alleviate and what we call patient diversion strategies but frankly, if all of the other states around us are overwhelmed, and we are seeing other increases, it’s going to get very dire," Palmer said.

Southern Ohio Medical Center in Portsmouth posted to Facebook on Saturday that its ICU is at capacity and it is preparing alternate plans for critical patients as well as opening a fourth COVID unit.

Palmer said staff vaccination mandates are exacerbating the problem but he added it’s important to make sure medical workers are vaccinated.

He said health care workers who opt-out won’t necessarily be terminated but might have to test for COVID more frequently or wear more protective equipment.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.