COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) – While hospitals reached a pandemic high in January, Northeast Ohio is starting to see a steady decline in cases.
“It appears that the Cleveland area has reached its omicron peak,” Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Ohio Department of Health Director, shared at a press conference Thursday.
Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan says the peak of omicron cases hit right at the beginning of 2022.
“Our case numbers are continuing to drop from that peak around the first of the year,” Allan shared at a press conference Wednesday.
Hospitalizations have fallen by as much as 24% in the Cleveland area this week, Dr. Vanderhoff said.
However, statewide, Wednesday was the 2nd highest day for COVID-19 hospitalizations on record, according to Dr. Vanderhoff.
5,887 people are being treated in the state’s hospitals, according to the Ohio Hospital Association.
Cases are up in ages 0-17 and 18-29.
They are trending downward in most other age groups, OHA data shows.
While it is a light at the end of the tunnel for weary healthcare workers, the case numbers are still incredibly high.
“Our case rate remains about 8 times the CDC threshold of high transmission,” shared Allan.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) looks at total new cases and percent positivity to determine the level of community transmission.
High transmission is considered 100 new cases per 100,000 people in the past 7 days.
“We are still hitting north of 20,000 positive COVID tests every day in the state,” Dr. Vanderhoff said.
“When you’re at astronomical levels of spread, you’re at astronomical levels of spread,” he continued.
Dr. Roberto Colon, Chief Medical Officer of Miami Valley Hospital says omicron accounted for less than 1% of all Ohio COVID-19 cases at the beginning of December.
“Now we’re approaching the national average of 98% of cases,” he said.
The decrease in Northeast Ohio cases is good news, but healthcare leaders say it’s too soon to rest easy.
“We’re well premature of saying, “Breathe a sigh of relief. We’re out of the woods,” said Dr. Vanderhoff.
“We are all hopeful,” said Dr. Alice Kim, Medical Director for Medical Operations at Cleveland Clinic. “But we want to take some caution.”
“This is our 6th surge,” she added.
Federal help from the U.S. Air Force arrived at Cleveland Clinic earlier this week and will likely be at work in the medical units as soon as Friday.
ODH announced Thursday that Summa Health received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a medical response team to help fill the ranks at its Akron facilities.