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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – Thursday, the MetroHealth System announced it is experiencing all-time high numbers for COVID-19 hospitalizations and test positivity since the pandemic began nearly two years ago.

“This is a difficult time where we are all working harder than ever,” said MetroHealth President and CEO Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE. “We all greatly appreciate what our colleagues are doing to care for our community.”

Here are some of the increases they’re seeing

  • 136 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Wednesday, an increase of about 30% above previous highs.
  • More than 275 people diagnosed with COVID-19 across the System Tuesday.
  • A record high in test positivity rate, approaching 40%.
  • Nearly 50 patients receiving treatment for COVID from the Hospital in the Home program, a tenfold increase from the summer.
  • A significant increase in high-risk people in the Cuyahoga County Jail testing positive for COVID.

“We’re seeing new records every day,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Bernard Boulanger, MD, MBA. “We’re above the peak when we thought it was bad last December and January of this year.”

Boulanger attributes the increase to people gathering together during the Thanksgiving holiday.

MetroHealth says the decision to delay non-time-sensitive elective surgeries has created more space for COVID patients, and the premium pay program has helped with staffing.

Executive Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer Nabil Chehade, MD, MSBS, said the public needs to take action.

“I’ve gone to Costco and I’m the only one wearing a mask,” Chehade said. “People have a false sense of security. We need to go back to doing the things we were doing in March and April.”

Vice President of Hospital Operations Nicholas Sukalac noted that the increase in test positivity rate shows that the virus is being transmitted like never before.

“I think it’s worth noting that the vast majority of people hospitalized with COVID are unvaccinated,” Sukalac said.