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Memorial: 25 COVID deaths last week

Marietta Memorial Hospital saw 25 COVID patients die between Sept. 12-18, and the hospital continues to set new highs for the number of patients with the coronavirus.

Twenty of the patients who passed away were unvaccinated, while five had been fully vaccinated against the virus, said Jennifer Offenberger, associate vice president for service excellence for the Memorial Health System.

A person is not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after their final dose, so the unvaccinated statistics could include some individuals who received one or even two doses.

It was in the midst of this period last week that Memorial nurse practitioner Megan Barnette posted an emotional video describing her experience and encouraging people to get vaccinated.

“It’s really hard to see so many patients dying,” she said in the Sept. 15 Facebook video. “And we’re to that point where, nearly every shift, a COVID-vented patient is coding now.”

Since mid-July, COVID patients ranging from age 32 to 89 have passed away at Memorial, Offenberger said. One-third of them have been in the 70-79 age range, she said, while 27 percent were 60-69, 15 percent each 50-59 and 40-49, 6 percent 80-89 and 2 percent 30-39.

On Tuesday, Memorial had 80 COVID-positive patients, exceeding the previous high of 78 last week.

“We continue to be nearing capacity and continue to be stretched as we care for patients,” Offenberger said. “This is the same all over the region — in our call this morning Columbus reported only nine ICU-elevated beds available.”

The hospital remains at about 200 percent of its intensive care bed capacity.

“We’ve expanded our COVID patients to additional units in our hospital,” Offenberger said.

Of the patients Tuesday, 66 were unvaccinated and 14 were vaccinated. Although vaccines are believed to protect against the most serious effects of the virus, breakthrough infections — and even deaths — can still occur. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors in public places in areas of substantial or high transmission.

“We continue to encourage people to speak to their provider and consider vaccination if they are not vaccinated,” Offenberger said.

“Please mask, social distance and avoid large crowds.”

Washington County ranked 12th out of Ohio’s 88 counties in last week’s update of cases per 100,000 residents over the previous two weeks. As of Sept. 16, 759 cases had been reported since Sept. 2 among the county’s 59,911 residents. Neighboring Monroe and Morgan counties were even higher at sixth and eighth, respectively. Monroe had 199 reported cases among its 13,654 residents, while Morgan had 205 among 14,508 residents.

Meigs County ranked 22nd with 242 cases in the previous two weeks among 22,907 residents, while Athens County was 39th with 549 cases (65,327 residents) and Noble was 55th (107 cases, 14,424 residents).

The Ohio Department of Health updates those statistics every Thursday on its COVID dashboard.

WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center had 83 COVID patients Tuesday, after setting a high of 77 on Sept. 14, when the hospital had to divert patients for a time due to the strain on its oxygen resources.

Of the 83 patients, 68 were unvaccinated, a hospital spokesman said. There were 17 patients in the ICU, two of whom had been vaccinated.

Twelve patients were on ventilators, two of them vaccinated.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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