Dec 22, 2021 - COVID

Ohio experiencing COVID déjà vu

Illustration of clock with a q-tip for the hour hand
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

This year is wrapping up much like the one before it did: with a spike of COVID cases and hospitalizations.

Why it matters: The emerging variants in 2021 prove the pandemic is not going away any time soon, even with vaccines widely available to the public.

  • The worst may be yet to come, some officials worry.

Threat level: The alarming rate of new cases and hospitalizations seen in the Cleveland area is an ominous sign for what's to come, says Dr. Andy Thomas, chief medical officer for the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

  • "This is a coming crisis for central Ohio in a way we probably haven't seen before, and that's shocking to say given what we've seen since March of 2020."

The latest: The region finds itself at "yet another critical juncture in this COVID-19 fight," says Dr. Mysheika Roberts, the Columbus Public Health commissioner.

By the numbers: The Franklin County case rate is now 341 per 100,000 residents, which Roberts says indicates "very high community transmission."

What's happening: Area hospitals are once again delaying elective surgeries to make room for COVID patients.

  • Gov. Mike DeWine recently mobilized National Guard troops to assist healthcare workers.
  • The Columbus Blue Jackets and Ohio State's basketball teams have all seen games postponed due to positive tests among players.

Meanwhile, the local health department gave thousands of free tests to residents ahead of upcoming holiday travel.

Yes, but: The shortage of tests means the department won't receive any more until the new year, WBNS reports.

The bottom line: The advice from health officials as we head into 2022 is much of what we've heard over the first two pandemic years.

  • Wear masks when out in public, stay home if you're sick and get your vaccine and booster shots.
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