US coronavirus: Many US hospitals halt elective procedures as Covid-19 hospitalizations rise

More than 155,900 Americans are hospitalized with Covid-19, data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed Thursday, surpassing records set during last winter’s outbreak. And hospitals need more people to help provide care.

Meanwhile, nationwide deaths have lagged behind the worst of last winter’s outbreak, as the country has recorded an average of 1,817 Covid-19 deaths per day over the past week. , according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The maximum daily average was 3,402 a year ago on January 13, 2021.

In Washington state, hospitals will temporarily halt elective procedures “so that as much capacity and staff can be devoted to emerging needs — the people who need them right now,” Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday.

In Wisconsin, members of the National Guard will be trained as certified nursing assistants to support hospitals and nursing homes, Gov. Tony Evers said.

“We estimate that the first round of staffing and relief deployment will allow skilled nursing facilities to open 200 or more beds by the end of February,” Evers said Thursday as the state announced a number record of confirmed cases.

“Our health care providers are beyond exhausted. We just don’t have enough staff to care for everyone who is sick,” said Lisa Greenwood, associate dean of nursing at Madison College, who trains the members of the Guard.

Nineteen states reported less than 15% capacity remaining in their intensive care units, according to HHS data Thursday: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont.

Schools are also feeling the pressure

Since the emergence six weeks ago in the United States of Omicron – which has complicated a continued push for the Delta variant – states have relied on military and federal emergency teams to fill personnel absences.

Prior to the New Year, states such as Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York called on members of the Guard to assist with medical and non-medical duties.

In Ohio, more than 2,000 members of the Guard have been deployed as cases continue to rise. Now, with hospitalizations at an all-time high, authorities are urging residents to protect themselves from infection.

“In this push for Omicron, you have to remember that no one is untouchable,” state health department director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said Thursday, asking people not to go to the hospital. hospital only in the event of an actual emergency, as staff shortages remain critical.

Other federally deployed medical teams will soon travel to six states — Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island — to help hospitals battle Covid-19, President Joe announced Thursday. Biden.

Biden last month announced plans to mobilize 1,000 additional military medical personnel to help overwhelmed hospitals.

The help needed for staffing is not limited to health care facilities. Many school districts have weighed tough decisions about returning to in-person learning after the holidays, and the increase has impacted education staff.
Major school districts from New Mexico to Pennsylvania have halted in-person learning due to high rates of Covid-19 cases and teacher absences. Even New York City officials are considering a temporary remote learning option, less than a week after saying virtual classes hadn’t been effective earlier in the pandemic.

Public Schools in Montgomery County, Maryland’s largest school district, has submitted an official request for assistance from the National Guard to address the shortage of school bus drivers, the spokesperson for the school told CNN on Thursday. district, Chris Cram. Earlier this week, nearly 100 school bus routes in the district were affected by driver shortages, but that number has now dropped to 29 routes on Thursday, Cram said.

Attendees wear face masks as they line up for Covid-19 PCR testing to travel during the Consumer Electronics Show on January 7, 2022 in Las Vegas.

Testing issues are still in play

While health experts hope the outbreak may soon subside, the sheer volume of infections continues nationwide. Confirmed positive Covid-19 cases have climbed to a daily average of 771,580 in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than three times that of last winter’s peak average.

Mitigating Covid-19 transmission remains paramount, and officials are working to overcome a shortage of rapid Covid-19 tests so those who are asymptomatic can know to self-quarantine.
Early signs suggest the Omicron wave is peaking in parts of the US, but relief is nowhere near

In Nevada, state officials have ordered more than half a million home antigen test kits that will be made available free of charge and will be distributed later this month through “community partners.” who will be named later, Governor Steve. Sisolak announced Thursday.

“This will ensure that as we live with Covid, the supply chain does not dictate access to Nevadans,” Sisolak said.

However, not all cases confirmed by rapid test are tracked and recorded, meaning the number of people with Covid-19 may be much higher.

The Omicron variant has become so prevalent in Oregon that it exceeds health officials’ ability to track the number of infected people, they said.

“We know that many home test results are missing from our daily case count, and in the face of the highly transmissible variant of Omicron, case data is also missing many undiagnosed cases,” said the director of the Oregon Health Authority, Patrick Allen, in a briefing. Thusday.

“To be completely transparent, we are likely approaching the maximum capacity of our testing system to identify cases.”

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Instead of interviewing people for contact tracing, health teams will focus on tracking outbreaks in high-risk settings, asking those with positive test results to voluntarily report them to the state via a website and a hotline, Allen said.

“Hospitalizations and deaths will continue to be our most reliable and important measure,” Allen said.

CNN’s Katherine Dillinger, Jason Hanna, Joe Sutton, Andy Rose, Hannah Sarisohn, Raja Razek, Elizabeth Stuart and Laura Studley contributed to this report.

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