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Nearly 19,000 new cases of COVID have been recorded in Ohio in the past 24 hours

Ohio Department of Health
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The Ohio Dept of Health reports 18,942 Ohioans have tested positive for probable or confirmed cases during the past day.

 COVID case totals for today
Ohio Dept of Health
/
Ohio Dept of Health
COVID case totals for today

This is one of the highest totals since the pandemic began. And health officials are bracing for more as people who gathered for holidays begin to show signs of COVID infection. Increased case levels are an indicator of future increases in hospitalizations.

Record high rates of infection are being recorded and hospitals statewide report being stretched due to a rising number of COVID patients, many of whom are unvaccinated. 2,300 Ohio National Guard members have been deployed to work at various hospitals statewide because of a shortage of staff to accommodate the increased number of patients. Guard members are providing medical services as well as helping out in other areas of hospitals where workers themselves have often fallen ill to the virus.

As the Omicron variant spreads through Ohio and the rest of the world, many who experience cold symptoms are wondering if they could have caught COVID. Ohio Dept of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says there’s high demand for tests too.

“To the tune of about 40,000 plus a day and more than a quarter of a million Ohioans were tested just in the week leading up to Christmas,” Vanderhoff says.

 Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff on a call with news reporters
Jo Ingles
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Statehouse News Bureau
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff on a call with news reporters

Vanderhoff says he knows the actual numbers might be even higher if everyone who tested positive on rapid at-home tests reported that outcome. And while the state distributed 1.4 million of those tests during December through libraries and health departments, they are now in short supply and there’s no word on when new stock will become available.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau