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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Just a few weeks ago, as Ohio seemed to have “flattened the curve” in the battle against COVID-19, University Hospitals had about 60 to 80 people showing up each day across its system with Covid-like symptoms.

In the past few days, UH has been averaging about 250 people at its emergency rooms with the same type of symptoms.

That surge is driving the concern over a potential spike in cases that could overwhelm hospital systems throughout the region. Right now, there still appears to be time to reverse the trend – if people act fast.

Hospitalizations are “manageable” right now, according to Dr. Claudia Hoyen, the co-director of Infection Control at UH.

But, she quickly adds that will change if the number of emergency room cases continues to climb.

“You can see the storm in the distance,” she says.

COVID-19 usually takes up to about two weeks from the time that someone may first go seek emergency room care to the time they may need to be hospitalized.

Not all patients, of course, require that level of care. But the more patients overall who contracted the virus, the more predictable it is that more people will eventually require a hospital bed, and maybe a stay in intensive care.

And, Dr. Hoyen says the potential danger is that an overwhelmed health care system would not only be unable to care for all the Covid patients, but also, for other patients facing different illnesses.

She says the good news is the biggest answers are pretty simple.

“It’s about all of us wearing masks and practicing social distancing,” Dr. Hoyen says.

If we turn the tide now, the “kids can go back to school in the fall”, and the economy can continue to re-open. But the time to act is now.

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