OHIO — In northeast Ohio, health officials are reporting record virus hospitalizations as patient levels surpass the previous peak reached in the middle of December last year.

What You Need To Know

  • Intensive care unit beds are full in some Ohio hospitals

  • Northeast Ohio hospitals are reporting record virus patients

  • The latest wave of the virus is proving to be deadly

The two hospital regions that comprise northeast Ohio account for nearly half of the state's 4,758 COVID-19 hospitalizations. 

Ashtabula County Health Commissioner Jay Becker said intensive care unit beds in the area are full. In the last two weeks, more than 1,000 of the county’s 97,000 residents have gotten COVID. 



“The state of Ohio is not in a good place right now, but we are the worst of the worst in the state of Ohio,” Becker said.

The major hospitals in Cleveland have declining capacity to accept patient transfers, Becker said. On Tuesday, Cleveland Clinic officials said the situation is dire, reporting that its hospitals are near capacity due to COVID-19 numbers. 

MetroHealth in Cleveland reported all-time high numbers Wednesday for hospitalizations and test positivity rates.

In region two, which includes the Cleveland area, 1,103 patients are hospitalized. A bit south in region five, hospitals are caring for 1,129 patients. 

Becker said this wave is proving to be deadly in Ashtabula County. The recent deaths have all been among unvaccinated individuals who contracted the delta variant, he said. And the way he sees it, the main reason hospitals are full is because only 51% of residents are vaccinated.

“Throughout this pandemic, if you look at our deaths, we'll get a few here, we'll get a few there, but over the last month and a half, we've had over 25 deaths in Ashtabula County,” he said. “It's unbelievable to me — we have this tool that’s known to keep people out of the hospital, but people do not want to use the tool. They don’t want to be vaccinated.”

Ohio reported 583 virus deaths in the last week, according to the Ohio Department of Health's Tuesday update.

Despite the turn the pandemic has taken, Ohio officials plan to continue to focus on vaccination, not new health restrictions.

Local health departments have limited authorities to act in response to the surge, Becker said.

“Our state legislature took some of the tools away from us. We cannot mandate masking anymore. We can't mandate vaccinations. The only thing public health can do right now is if someone is medically diagnosed as a positive COVID case, then we can step in and say that individual needs to stay home.”