CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The number of people getting sick and going to the hospital has health experts in the Tri-State sounding the alarm.
This week, Hamilton County Public Health said there are more people in the hospital than any other time during the pandemic.
Dr. Steve Feagins with Mercy Health said he is a part of a group tracking capacity in every hospital in the region. He said the group is meeting every day to discuss plans for a surge because the numbers are such a concern.
"That's the one number you know is the most real. If someone is sick enough to be in the hospital, you know that their oxygen levels are low; you know that they're having difficulty and they need to be at the hospital,” said Dr. Feagins.
The county said ICU beds are filling up.
"Our hospitals are seeing nearly 300 patients with COVID. At the beginning of October, for reference, this number was around 80 -- so quite a jump,” said Greg Kesterman with Hamilton County Public Health.
Not even being at the height of flu season, hospitals are already getting a plan in place for surge capacity.
"We look at even capacity for alternative care sites, which is what the Duke Energy Center was prepared for, and maybe again, although we're not close to that,” said Dr. Feagins.
Doctors said now is the time to buckle down again.
"You never think you're going to be in the hospital, but I want to know that I have a bed if I need one,” said Christa Huston with the Health Collaborative.
Staff at those hospitals need to take a second look at family gatherings as the holidays get closer.
"Honestly, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how many beds we have if we don't have the staff to take care of us,” said Hyson.
Hospital numbers are playing into the county’s status on the statewide alert map. When asked about purple status, the health commissioner said he predicts being given a star Wednesday, giving the county a week to get numbers down before hitting purple status.