Health departments fear holiday COVID-19 surge

While the number of active COVID-19 cases seemed to be dropping last week, they are on the rise again this week.

Monroe County Health Department Administrator John Wagner stated in his Nov. 27 report, “It should be noted that the labs were closed on Thursday (Thanksgiving day) and some remain closed this weekend, so numbers will not be a true indication of spread until things return to normal on Monday.”

In Randolph County, Health Department Administrator Angela Oathout also reported to the Randolph County commissioners at their Nov. 25 meeting that she anticipated a surge in cases following Thanksgiving. She also reiterated that the local hospitals are becoming concerned as larger hospitals are restricting patient transfers. “It’s getting harder and harder to refer out to larger hospitals, especially if COVID positive.”

Oathout stated that the region’s ICU availability has dropped under 20 percent. While this statistic alone is not good, she feels the number of serious cases will “ramp up in December.” She cautioned that our small, local hospitals don’t have ICUs, so they are dependent on the bigger hospitals. “We’re trying to figure out what to do if the predictions are right.”

For more COVID-19 updates, please see this week’s print edition.