​​​COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State Wexner is postponing elective surgeries that require an overnight stay beginning Jan. 3 as a measure to deal with the COVID-19 surge impacting the state, officials announced Friday.

What You Need To Know

  • Ohio State Wexner announced it will postpone elective surgeries

  • The move follows similar decisions by major Cleveland hospitals

  • Surgeries will be postponed beginning Jan. 3, officials said Friday

The major medical center will not schedule any new elective surgeries between now and the beginning of the postponement, the announcement said. 

“There is a significant increase in patients needing hospitalization in central Ohio. The number of COVID-19 inpatients has reached a peak not seen since January 2021 and it’s straining the region’s hospital systems. We are also seeing high numbers of non-COVID patients who are sicker than typical,” Wexner said in a statement.

Earlier Friday, Gov. Mike DeWine said during a news conference that hospitals across the state were preparing to make the difficult decision to delay elective surgeries, if they hadn’t already taken that action.

In northern Ohio, almost all of the hospitals have stopped elective surgeries, DeWine said. In central Ohio, some have paused surgeries and others were expected to do so imminently, he said.

In southern Ohio, hospitals were making plans to postpone elective surgeries when it becomes necessary, DeWine said.

Wexner said it was notifying patients who are affected by the announcement.

“This measure will help free the necessary resources for inpatients in need of immediate and life-saving care whether from COVID-19 or other serious illnesses,” Wexner’s statement said. 

On Wednesday, Ohio State Wexner Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Andrew Thomas told reporters that many central Ohio hospitals are full, meaning that patients are waiting in an emergency room bed until they can be transferred.

Thomas explained that it would be a serious step to postpone elective surgeries.

‘We're not talking cosmetic things here, Thomas said. “What we're talking about is people that were scheduled to have a knee replacement, people that were scheduled to have back surgery.”

On Friday, 4,784 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ohio, according to state data. 

Thomas said hospitals postponing elective surgeries will continue to perform surgeries that cannot be safely delayed.