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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Hamilton County COVID Cases Still Rising And 'This Puts Significant Strain On Staffing'


More than 26,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Hamilton County since the beginning of the pandemic. Since last week, nearly 4,000 new cases have been confirmed.

While cases have been rising, hospitalizations and ICU admissions have been as well. During a COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said in October, 80 people were hospitalized within the region's hospitals. Now, nearly 550 people have been hospitalized.

"This is putting significant strain on staffing, as well as availability of beds, so we are seeing our hospitals collaborate and work together as systems to make sure that they are able to respond," Kesterman said.

Kesterman also said 25 patients were admitted to ICUs at the beginning of October. Since then, that number has risen to 125. Ten people in the county have died from COVID-19 in just the last week.

Hamilton Co. Prepping For COVID-19 Vaccine

As COVID-19 vaccines are getting closer to approval, Hamilton County is getting ready to store as many vaccines as needed. Commission President Denise Driehaus said the county is doing the work to make sure everyone has access to the vaccine, but there is concern not everyone will get vaccinated.

"It's a bit of a head-scratcher," Driehaus said. "We know what works. We know how to keep each other safe, and some people are unwilling to do it. Our job is to make sure that we keep this community as safe as possible and that's what we're going to do."

On Tuesday, Sen. Rob Portman also raised concerns about not enough people getting the vaccine once it’s available. A Gallup poll shows 58% of Americans are willing to get the vaccine.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.