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Rising COVID-19 Numbers Raise Concerns Over Holiday Gatherings

Nov 24, 2021

Credit Jo Ingles

State health officials report 6,751 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24-hours - the highest single day count since late September. There were 339 new admissions to hospitals, 24 to intensive care units, where one out of four patients is there because of COVID-19.

On average, 63 people in Ohio are reported to have died of COVID every day since September 1.

Health officials fear it could worsen as families get together indoors, for Thanksgiving and the upcoming winter holidays. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports on how some families are trying to safely celebrate.

A year ago – Ohio’s COVID case numbers were soaring, and hospitalizations were hitting record numbers every day.  

A few weeks later, the first vaccines arrived in Ohio. Now COVID shots are available for anyone over 5.  

In the last few weeks, deaths are still high, and though case numbers were down, they’re starting to tick back up again. So,  

Before the family gets together over turkey and pumpkin pie, Ohio Dept of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff says it’s important to think about who is gathered around the table.  

39:04 “If we are going into a high risk-risk environment, perhaps one where there are going to be many unvaccinated people, and we are particularly at risk or maybe unvaccinated ourselves, I think we really need to ask, ‘Is that really the right thing to do?’”  

Some Ohioans, like Jen Weber of Dublin, have already made it clear that in-person family gatherings are limited to those who are vaccinated.  

1:34 None of our relatives are hesitant to get the vaccine so everyone got vaccinated. And when everyone got vaccinated, we had a huge Father’s Day bash at our house. And we were all vaccinated and it felt so good to be able to gather and not worry.  

But Beth Cerda of Delaware is worried. She, her husband and kids are fully vaccinated but her 78-year-old mom isn’t.  

1:37 We are around people all of the time and I don’t want to be the one that feels the guilt if Mom ends up being sick. I don’t want to have to carry that.  

For the Cyphert family near Canal Winchester, this Thanksgiving will mark a difficult day. It was the day in 2020 when Anne’s husband, David, was hospitalized with COVID. He passed away on December 17th.    

2:30 “My husband died before he could get the vaccine. We can’t let this happen to our family again. Everybody has a right to their own opinions but it makes me very sad when people refuse to get the vaccination. I’ve known a lot of friends who have chose not to. Three of them are now deceased because they didn’t get the vaccination.”  

Patty Huston Holm of Canal Winchester is vaccinated but she’s not getting together with human family and friends.  

1:41 Well, you know Jo, I lost my Mom earlier this year so holidays are a bit tough so that said, Thanksgiving this year, is going to be stress free, no drama, no virus, no criticism about what my husband and I have on the table or don’t have on the table to eat, because our only guest are two amazing dogs for two families so they can travel and be with their families.  

Medical professionals say this holiday season is about managing risk, because no gathering will be 100% safe. Vanderhoff says families who do get together should open windows if possible and wear masks, and anyone who is sneezing or coughing should stay away.