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COVID-19 Vaccinations Strongly Encouraged As Cases, Hospitalizations Climb

Ohio State employee Lauren Chisholm, left, receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination from Robert Weber Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Columbus.
Jay LaPrete

Thanksgiving is just a week away as Ohio’s COVID-19 cases climb again. State health officials are encouraging Ohioans not yet vaccinated to take that step.

“More people are getting sick, and more are being hospitalized,” said Director of the Ohio Department of Health, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff.

Yesterday, the health department reported more than 2,800 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19, and more than 800 of them in the ICU.

Vanderhoff said numbers are going in the wrong direction. In the last 21 days, hospitalizations have increased by 23% and ICU admissions increased by 15%.

Health officials are worried family gatherings could bring more illnesses.

“Don’t bring tragedy that could be easily avoided to your family this holiday season,” said Vanderhoff. “Make the safe choice and get vaccinated...I urge you to talk to your doctor or pharmacist and get the facts about COVID-19 vaccines.”

Vanderhoff said the Delta wave of the virus is showing how relentless the disease can be, though the vaccine has shown to be very effective.

For those not yet comfortable with vaccinations, health officials also suggest testing for COVID-19.

“If you’re going to have a Thanksgiving get together with elderly people, at-risk people; and we all have elderly and at-risk people in our families, another layer of protection is to test yourself if you’re going to be traveling or having a dinner with them,” said Dr. Joseph Gastaldo with Ohio Health.

So far in Ohio, 6.6 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine. For children ages 5-11 about 77,479 have received one dose of the vaccine.

The FDA is expected to expand approval of COVID-19 booster shots beyond those 65 and older or with severe ailments.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.