COVID-19 surge: Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth, University Hospitals limiting non-urgent surgeries

Cleveland Clinic, the MetroHealth System and University Hospitals announced Friday that they are voluntarily making adjustments to the scheduling of non-urgent surgeries at certain locations due to “yet another surge” in the number of COVID-19 patients.

In Summit County, Summa Health had planned to limit elective surgeries, along with available inpatient beds, by late October to address staffing shortages, but it’s been unable to fully implement that plan as COVID-19 hospitalizations increase.

Western Reserve Hospital and Akron Children’s Hospital said they have no current plans to limit elective surgeries.

But Summit County’s four hospital systems — Summa, Cleveland Clinic Akron General, Western Reserve and Children’s — continue to see surging numbers of COVID-19 patients.

On Friday, the four systems reported 22 additional COVID-19 patients from Thursday for a total of 276, the highest number since Dec. 18, 2020, when they were treating 296 patients.

Ohio also reported 9,584 new cases Friday. 

The three Cuyahoga County-based hospital systems that announced the limits on non-urgent surgeries said they’re seeing “unprecedented demand for inpatient care across our facilities.” That’s led to their hospitals reaching nearly full capacity at many locations.

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The systems also said they’re seeing a significant increase in unvaccinated patients hospitalized because of COVID-19, with more than 90% of patients with COVID-19 in the ICU unvaccinated. The majority of vaccinated patients who are hospitalized have underlying health conditions, they said.