CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Hamilton County officials discussed the "monumental" increase in COVID-19 cases and preparation for a vaccine when it's ready for distribution.
Public Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said that monumental increase in cases has resulted in a significant increase in hospitalizations and ICU admissions.
Last Saturday saw the worst day on record with 494 new cases. Kesterman said contact tracers are seeing spread throughout the community, there is no one big source.
Out of the 4,000 new cases last week, Kesterman said 831 came from 18 to 29-year-olds. However, there were 326 cases in 70 to 90-year-olds which he said impacts hospitalizations.
Hamilton County hospitalizations were slightly less elevated, according to Kesterman but he said regionally it's high which is putting a strain on staffing and the availability of beds.
Regionally there were 80 hospitalizations about six weeks ago, there are now 550 hospitalizations. At the beginning of October, there were 25 ICU admissions. There are now 125, according to Kesterman.
He encouraged people to get tested.
There was also talk about preparations to receive, store and distribute a vaccine when it's ready, specifically the Pfizer vaccine which has some very specific requirements.
Nick Crossley, Director of the Hamilton County Emergency Management and Homeland Security said they've found a secure location. He said two walk-in freezers and one walk-in refrigerator have been purchased. He said the Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at negative 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
The agency has also purchased a complete security system, backup power and backup refrigeration.
This all comes at a cost of about a quarter of a million dollars. Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus said federal funding has been used to cover the costs.