A group of Ohio hospitals has issued a simple plea in a striking full-page newspaper ad as cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 rise rapidly across the state.
Six Cleveland-area health care facilities paid for the ad in Sunday's Cleveland Plain-Dealer, which features the word "Help" against a blank page and urges people to get vaccinated.
"We need your help. We now have more COVID-19 patients in our hospitals than ever before,” the ad reads. “And the overwhelming majority are unvaccinated. This is preventable.”
Summa Health, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and MetroHealth combined to run the ad.
Ohio is one of six states accounting for more than half of the nation's recent COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to an NBC News analysis of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data.
The state is behind only Michigan in the highest share of new hospitalizations between Nov. 10 and Dec. 5 across the country. Ohio is approaching its record of 4,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 from January.
The vast majority of Ohio's hospitalized patients are unvaccinated, Ohio Department of Health director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said on Dec. 2 at a news conference.
Vanderhoff added that young people between 23 and 49 have a case rate 25% higher than the statewide average.
The threat of hospitals being overwhelmed has Ohio officials urging people to get vaccinated.
“If these trends continue through the month of December into January, we will be at a point where the hospitals in Ohio will not be able to take care of all the patients we need to take care of," Dr. Andy Thomas of Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center said at the Dec. 2 news conference.
The rapid spread of the omicron variant could cause cases and hospitalizations to skyrocket, top U.S. health officials have warned.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical advisor, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the omicron variant has an "extraordinary capability" for transmission and is "raging through the world." He added that omicron will almost certainly become the dominant variant in the country.
“Our hospitals, if things look like they’re looking now, in the next week or two are going to be very stressed with people, because, again, we have so many people in this country who are eligible to be vaccinated who have not yet been vaccinated,” Fauci said.
Cases could rise to the point that there will be 1 million new cases per day due to the omicron variant, Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said Sunday on CBS News' "Face the Nation." The current record is about 250,000 a day from January.