Local health officials are warning that without big changes, the area will see a huge number of new COVID-19 cases in the next two weeks. During a video call Friday morning, Dr. Peter Margolis with Cincinnati Children's Hospital says right now there are more people hospitalized locally with COVID than ever before.
Their warning comes days after Ohio Governor Mike DeWine expressed similar concerns.
"Hospitals at this time of year typically run about 90% full. If this number doubles in the next couple of weeks, that means we're going to have to stop doing elective surgeries, stop doing elective procedures that we've been doing in the past in order to make space for more patients with COVID," Margolis says.
He says getting people to wear masks more will help. He says to do that, there needs to be a better culture that encourages the practice.
"In other parts of the country kids are outside playing soccer wearing masks, or parents are together wearing masks, even when they're outside. It's the kind of behavioral change that we need to figure out how to do," he says. "But, unfortunately right now we've got to figure out how to do it fast, because two weeks from now, if we double the number of cases we're going to be having a different conversation."
UC Health President Richard Lofgren says there isn't one specific reason for the rise in overall cases, like schools reopening.
"The fact, I think, suggests that we as a community are starting to let our guard down in terms of the things that we know, the simple practices that will keep our community safe and keep our economy open. Those are quite simply the things we've talked about." Lofgren says those include social distancing and mask wearing.
He says health experts have a better idea of how to arrest the spread now than they did at the beginning of the pandemic, so he doesn't think another shutdown is necessary.