CLEVELAND — The heads of MetroHealth System, Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals held a joint press conference to warn Ohioans that although they have enough supplies to treat COVID-19 patients, they're getting low on health care workers to actually help.
"COVID-19 cases in our region and state continue to rise at alarming rates," said Dr. Tom Mihaljevic, Cleveland Clinic president and CEO. "It is a turning point in the truest sense, and the power to do what is right is now in the hands of each member of every community."
Mihaljevic said Cleveland Clinic has been admitting an average of 60 patients each day, which is twice as many as the number admitted during March and April. Cleveland Clinic's occupancy is reaching its maxiumum, hovering between 80% to 95%.
But while they're expecting a surge in patients as COVID-19 continues to spread at higher rates, they weren't expecting their staff to come down with an illness just as fast.
Mihaljevic said nearly 800 caregivers are out sick.
"Never before have we had this many caregivers out of work sick," he said. "Yet our communities need us now more than ever. In order to do this, we need everyone in our communities to do the right thing."
MetroHealth Systems is balancing the same hospital capacity as the Cleveland Clinic, and President and CEO Dr. Akram Boutros said it's just the beginning. Around 60 health care workers are currently out sick there.
"If we have many of our staff out because of exposure while there's a large influx of COVID patients, we will not be able to provide the best care to everyone who needs it," Boutros said.
Boutros clarified that he doesn't believe that they are getting sick inside the hospital, but rather from what they do outside of work.
At University Hospitals, nearly 200 health care workers are out sick, said President Dr. Cliff Megerian.
"University Hospitals is similarly experiencing changes with regards to our experience with COVID, much worse, nearly 100% worse if you will, than we did during the first phase," Megerian said in reference to the spring.
Because of this, all the heads are warning about the holidays as many families prepare to gather indoors for Thanksgiving, with many members that may not be living with each other normally.
"This is not the year for families, I think, to have the large extended family Thanksgiving event with many people in the home because I think no matter how hard you try, when you're with family and you're in a home, the safeguards start going down. That means the masking, the distancing and the hugging," Megerian said.
They're urgining Ohioans to get back to the basics of washing hands, social distancing and wearing masks.
Ohio reached it's fourth-highest ever daily count of new cases Monday with 7,268. It also reached a new high for hospitalizations, with more than 3,000 COVID-19 positive patients.
Cleveland is also seeing high rates of cases — so high, they had trouble putting together the data to release Monday. The Cleveland Department of Public Health put out a release late Monday saying they had an unexpected surge of cases and will put the data out as soon as it's counted.