Cleveland doctors urge residents to be vigilant as holidays approach, warn of inpatient hospitalizations quadrupling

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — Officials from Cleveland hospitals Monday urged residents to be vigilant with masks, social distancing and hand washing as the holidays approach, saying if current trends continue, inpatient hospitalizations could quadruple by year’s end.

“Our analysis shows that if we don’t do something very different, the number of inpatients are going to go from about 470 in Cuyahoga County to somewhere between 1,500 to 2,000 by the end of the year. That’s not a really good place for us to go,” said Dr. Akram Boutros, president and CEO of MetroHealth System.

The CEOs and presidents from Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth System and University Hospitals held a media briefing to address their concerns over the increase of coronavirus cases impacting hospitals, healthcare workers and the community.

The doctors emphasized news at least two vaccines are close to being ready for public use, saying they hoped to get them by early 2021. But they also said with the holidays approaching, it’s important more than ever to follow safety guidelines.

Dr. Cliff Megerian, president of University Hospitals, urged residents to rethink how Thanksgiving is celebrated.

“This is not the year for families, I think, to have the large extended family events with many people in the home,” he said. “No matter how hard you try…the safeguards start going down.”

He suggested celebrating virtually or with masking in the home “almost as if you were at a restaurant.”

“Our hope is that with this discussion, we can tamp down the numbers to hopefully less than 1,000 (inpatient hospitalizations) and that would be incredibly helpful to the community and the health systems. It’s really up to each individual…to do our part,” said Boutros.

Coronavirus cases in the United States hit 11 million over the weekend, with the most recent million coming in less than one week.

In Ohio, a total of 298,096 cases had been reported as of Sunday.

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