CINCINNATI — A surge of COVID-19 infections is impacting both schools and hospitals in Hamilton County as Cincinnati Children’s sees around 60 patients a day — eight times higher than patient numbers in early December.
School staff absences have doubled since the end of winter break, according to Hamilton County ESC, a nonprofit that helps schools with development and support service. Tim Ackerman, Hamilton County ESC’s assistant superintendent, said 40% of substitute requests go unfilled every day.
Regional hospitals see between 100 to 250 adult COVID patients each day, according to Hamilton County Public Health data. For the first time in the pandemic, though, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is not far behind.
While the alpha strain and delta variant of the virus fed Children’s Hospital six or fewer patients a day, omicron sends 60, according to Dr. Steve Davis, the hospital’s CEO and president.
“Whether that’s because they’re not old enough or their parents haven’t gotten them vaccinated,” Davis said. “But we really aren’t seeing a large number of kids or adults with serious disease who have been vaccinated.”
The trend in children hospitalizations first hit Cleveland and Columbus. While both see numbers either reaching a plateau or declining, Cincinnati is surging. That’s why 10-year-old Landon Collinsworth took his second dose vaccination without hesitation.
“I want to do this,” he said. “If I don’t get this shot I could get sick and die. So, it was a good option to pick. I just want to feel safe.”
While several school district have switched to remote learning short-term amid the surge, Davis said it is important for kids to return to school and he is optimistic the surge of children cases is near its peak.