Despite reports that some hospitals in the state are “overcrowded,” data from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and Ohio Hospital Association (OHA) says otherwise.

Many in the media and within the U.S. government’s public health apparatus are panicking as cases of COVID-19’s Omicron variant soar to record levels.

As of Thursday, there were 5,648 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Ohio. According to the state’s data, that is 21.4 percent of the total hospital beds.

There were 15,415 patients, equivalent to 60.4 percent of the state’s total hospital beds, hospitalized for something other than COVID-19.

That still leaves 4,645 beds, equivalent to 18.2 percent of Ohio’s total hospital bed capacity.

Intensive Care Units (ICUs) are not overflowing with patients either.

The data shows that there were 1,243 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds as of Thursday. That is 26.93 percent of total ICU capacity.

There were 2,624 others occupying ICU beds for non-COVID related illnesses or injuries, or 56.86 percent of total ICU patients.

The state still has a total of 748 ICU beds left, equivalent to 16.21 percent of total capacity.

Still, healthcare providers remain worried. OhioHealth is one of the largest hospital networks in the state.

“OhioHealth, along with other healthcare providers in the state and around the nation, is seeing an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients we are caring for in inpatient areas of our hospitals, as well as in the critical care spaces, or ICU’s,” Marcus Thorpe, a spokesman for the network told The Ohio Star. “This, while we also care for many patients in our hospitals who do not have COVID-19.  Statistics show that Ohio hospitals are caring for more hospitalized patients now than at any time during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Thorpe said OhioHealth encourages vaccination against COVID-19.

Research appears to indicate that Omicron is a milder variant than the ones faced previously.

The variant first appeared in South Africa just over a month ago. Shortly thereafter, it spread to the United States.

But now, South Africa said the surge in Omicron cases has peaked without a major increase in deaths.

“The speed with which the Omicron-driven fourth wave rose, peaked and then declined has been staggering,” Fareed Abdullah of the South African Medical Research Council reportedly said. “Peak in four weeks and precipitous decline in another two. This Omicron wave is over in the city of Tshwane. It was a flash flood more than a wave.”

– – –

Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].