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CLEVELAND (WJW)– COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise in Northeast Ohio.

“It is unfortunate, it is real. We are experiencing the same increase in cases in regular nursing floors and intensive care units,” said Dr. Hassan Khouli with the Cleveland Clinic.

On Tuesday, the state recorded more than 120 Ohioans were admitted to the hospital for COVID-19. Although the numbers are well below previous peaks, Khouli said he is concerned about how quickly the rate increased.

“A few weeks ago, we were celebrating in our ICUs. We were experiencing zero cases in our ICUs,” Khouli said.

Dr. David Margolius with MetroHealth attributed the rise to the more contagious delta variant.

“They are up from where they were because a couple months ago, we barely had anyone in the hospital with COVID-19.  That’s largely due to all the masking and rolling out of vaccinations,” Margolius said.

Dr. Keith Armitage, medical director of the UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine and Global Health, said he’s not concerned about hospital capacity, but rather community spread because of unvaccinated people.

“Because the delta variant is so contagious, I predict we will see more hospitalizations in a week or two. I don’t predict a big surge that would require major changes in how we organize our care,” Armitage said.

According to the state, 99 percent of COVID deaths in Ohio were in unvaccinated people. They also report the vast majority of people hospitalized for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

“I’ve been tracking this since March.  It is 98 percent unvaccinated,” Armitage said.

All three health systems report people are expressing more interest in getting vaccinated now that the delta variant is causing increased hospitalizations across the state.

“There is definitely a renewed interest. Every day I talk to someone who is interested in getting vaccinated.  So, hope is not lost,” Margolius said.