CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – “We’re going to be overrun.”
Dr. Claudia Hoyen was blunt about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it is on track to continue into another year of our lives.
Dr. Hoyen works in Pediatric Infection Control at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. She was one of several health leaders from University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic who spoke Tuesday in a joint press conference.
She gave a clearer picture of the omicron variant and how it’s slowing down progress.
“Omicron is the second most contagious virus on the planet,” she said.
Measles is the most contagious, according to the CDC.
Omicron cases accounted for about 13% of all COVID-19 cases nationally last week.
Monday night they accounted for 73%.
Dr. Hoyen says omicron cases are doubling every 2-3 days, which means the majority of the cases in Ohio after Christmas will be omicron.
“We were already in a delta surge in Northeast Ohio, and now we’re in another surge of a new variant on top of that.
A mass testing site operated by the Ohio National Guard to ease the strain on hospitals was shut down Tuesday after just 3 hours due to high demand.
Dr. Daniel Simon is the President of Academic and External Affairs and Chief Scientific Officer for University Hospitals.
Dr. Simon says more than 30% of people who were tested at the site today tested positive for COVID.
“These are very alarming numbers,” added Dr. Raed Dweik, Chairman of Cleveland Clinic’s Respiratory Institute.
He says people who showed no symptoms were testing positive at a rate of about 20% two weeks ago.
Now, that number has doubled.
The breakthrough cases they’re seeing, doctors say, are in the immune-compromised and others who have health battles such as cancer.
He’s encouraging people to once again wear masks indoors.
“Our ERs are overwhelmed. Our workers are exhausted,” said Hoyer.
She says they’re also seeing more children with acute COVID and kids who are fighting MIS-C.
MIS-C IS multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, caused by COVID-19.
4,797 people are being treated for COVID-19 in Ohio’s hospitals.
133 children under 17 were admitted over the last week, according to the Ohio Hospital Association.
“We need your help now more than ever,” Dr. Simon said as all the doctors urged people to get vaccinated and boosted.