Ohio Hospitals' One-Word Plea on COVID: 'Help'

Medical centers in Cleveland area, Minnesota beg people to get vaxxed in major newspaper ads
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2021 9:20 AM CST
Ohio Hospitals' One-Word Plea on COVID: 'Help'
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/gorodenkoff)

One word dominates a full-page advertisement that appeared in Sunday's Plain Dealer, Ohio's biggest newspaper. "Help," reads the bold-font plea, surrounded by white space, smack in the middle of the ad placed by the heads of six of the Cleveland area's medical facilities to try to attract attention as hospitalizations spike during the most recent coronavirus surge, reports the Washington Post. "We need your help. We now have more COVID-19 patients in our hospitals than ever before," the ad continues, noting that the "overwhelming majority" of those taking up hospital beds aren't vaccinated. "This is preventable.”

The ad from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Cleveland Clinic, and others asks those who are eligible to get vaccinated and boosted, and to keep up health and safety protocols like social distancing, adding, "We need you to care as much as we do." The ad appeared as some area hospitals have canceled nonessential surgeries due to an influx of COVID patients, and two days after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced he was sending 1,500 state National Guard members into local hospitals to help with staffing issues. Only about 150 of those helpers are trained nurses or EMTs; the other members will assist with transport, food services, and cleanup tasks, per the Columbus Dispatch.

The Post notes that less than 55% of Ohio's residents are fully vaccinated, with only 36% having received their booster shot. This isn't the only hospital-driven ad asking the public for assistance: A week earlier, the CEOs of nine health-care systems in Minnesota placed a similar full-page ad in the Star Tribune, noting they were "heartbroken" and "overwhelmed" by the surge of "avoidable illness and death" from COVID, reports CNN. "How does this happen in 2021—almost two full years since this deadly pandemic began?" that ad reads.

story continues below

The New York Times reported on Friday that, as the omicron variant starts to take hold, hospitalizations nationwide have increased by 20% over the past two weeks, with about 1,300 people dying daily. As of Friday, Michigan had the highest COVID hospitalization rate in the US, with about 4,700 people hospitalized last week. One bright spot in what was once the COVID epicenter: Doctors at New York City-area hospitals say there seem to be more "treat and release" patients now compared with previous waves, with not as many needing oxygen or longer hospital stays, reports the AP. "I'm confident we'll get through this," Dr. John D'angelo of Northwell Health says, though he acknowledges the "challenges" that lie before him and his colleagues. (More hospitals stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.