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American coronavirus: many American hospitals stop elective procedures as hospitalizations for Covid-19 increase

More than 155,900 Americans are hospitalized with Covid-19, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday, breaking records set in last winter’s wave. And hospitals need more people to help deliver care.

Meanwhile, nationwide deaths have lagged behind last winter’s worst wave, as the country 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 suspend elective procedures “so that so much capacity and staff can be dedicated 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 practical nurses to support hospitals and nursing homes, Governor Tony Evers said.

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

“Our health care providers are more than 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, which trains members of the guard.

Nineteen states reported less than 15% remaining capacity in their intensive care units, according to HHS data on 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 of Omicron six weeks ago in the United States – which has complicated a continued increase in the Delta variant – states have relied on military and federal emergency teams to support staff absences.

Ahead of the New Year, states such as Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York called in members of the Guard to help with both 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 against infection.

“In this Omicron wave, 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 only in a real 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 fight Covid-19, President Joe Biden announced Thursday. .

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

Support for staffing is not limited to health care facilities. Many school districts have made difficult decisions about returning to in-person learning after the holidays, and the increase has had an impact on education staff.
Major school districts from New Mexico to Pennsylvania have interrupted in-person learning due to high rates of Covid-19 cases and teacher absences. Even New York City officials are considering a temporary distance learning option, less than a week after saying virtual lessons had not been effective earlier in the pandemic.

Public schools in Montgomery County, Maryland’s largest school district, have made a formal request for help from the National Guard in addressing its shortage of school bus drivers, the spokesperson for the National Guard told CNN on Thursday. district, Chris Cram. Earlier this week, nearly 100 school bus routes in the district were affected by the driver shortage, but that number has now fallen to 29 routes on Thursday, Cram said.

American coronavirus: many American hospitals stop elective procedures as hospitalizations for Covid-19 increase

Testing issues are still at stake

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

Mitigating the transmission of Covid-19 remains paramount, and authorities are working to overcome a shortage of rapid Covid-19 tests so that those who are asymptomatic can learn to self-quarantine.
American coronavirus: many American hospitals stop elective procedures as hospitalizations for Covid-19 increase

In Nevada, state officials have ordered more than half a million home antigen test kits which will be made available free of charge and distributed later this month through “community partners.” who will be appointed later, Gov. 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 through a rapid test are being tracked and recorded, which means the number of people with Covid-19 may be much higher.

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

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

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

American coronavirus: many American hospitals stop elective procedures as hospitalizations for Covid-19 increase

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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