U.S.

US coronavirus: Covid-19 hospitalizations in the US reach levels not seen since last winter’s surge

The burden is straining healthcare networks as hospitals manipulate staffing issues caused by increased demand paired with staff, who are more vulnerable to infection, having to isolate and recover after testing positive.

In Virginia, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a limited emergency on Monday as the number of hospitalizations to the intensive care unit more than doubled since Dec. The order allows hospitals to expand bed capacity and provides more flexibility in staffing, he said, adding that it also expands the use of telehealth services as well as which medical professionals can administer vaccines.

In Texas, at least 2,700 medical personnel are being recruited, trained and deployed to help with the surge, joining more than 1,300 personnel already dispatched across the state, the Texas Department of Health Services said in a statement to CNN.

Kentucky has mobilized the National Guard to provide support, with 445 members sent to 30 health care facilities.

“Omicron continues to burn across the Commonwealth, and is growing at levels we’ve never seen before. Omicron is significantly more contagious than the delta variant,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, referring to the earlier variant that spurred increased cases in the summer and fall months.

“If it spreads at the rate we’re seeing, it’s definitely going to fill our hospitals,” he said, “and Kentucky is “down to 134 adult intensive care beds.”

Chris Ruder, UKHS chief operating officer, said the University of Kansas Health System, which announced a record number of Covid-19 patients, in Kansas, is “moving staff out of areas that can support functions supporting direct patient care”. “So this might be a lab run, it might be a simple transportation for the patient. Those kinds of things we can use other people to help with.”

Mitigation measures such as mandatory masking are also being revived in some areas.

Delaware Governor John Carney signed a blanket authorization for indoor mask Monday due to a surge in hospitalizations, with some hospitals “more than 100% of inpatient bed capacity amid severe staffing shortages,” he said in a statement. Churches and places of worship are exempt from the mandate, while companies must provide masks to customers and have signage about indoor mask requirements.

“I know we’re all exhausted by this pandemic. But at the level of hospitalization we’re seeing, Delaware residents who need emergency care may not be able to get it. It’s just a fact. It’s time for everyone to get involved and do what works. Wear your mask indoors. Avoid Crowds or anticipate and spread Covid. Get your vaccine, and if you qualify, get a boost. That’s how we’re going to get through this increase without putting more lives at risk,” Carney said.

A technician administers a Covid-19 test Monday at the drive-in site in Churchill Downs, Kentucky.

Schools face Omicron . problems

The Covid-19 safety debate in schools continues with only one in six children ages 5 to 11 fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As Los Angeles prepares to return to school on Tuesday, nearly 62,000 students and staff have tested positive for Covid-19 and will have to stay home, data from the Los Angeles Consolidated School District showed Monday, equating to a 14.99 positivity rate. %. By comparison, Los Angeles County’s overall positivity rate rose to 22%.

From Europe to the United States, cases of COVID-19 among children are increasing.  Schools are not prepared
In Chicago, teachers will return to school on Tuesday, and students are scheduled to learn in person on Wednesday after a nearly week-long feud. The Chicago Teachers’ Union voted for remote teaching last week, and the school district responded by canceling classes for four days.
The agreement, announced late Monday, included metrics for when a classroom needs to go remotely due to Covid-19 levels.
In areas where schools have returned to in-person learning after the holiday break, the time it takes for those with Covid-19 to recover has affected some essential services.

In Greensboro, North Carolina, the school district has suspended school bus transportation for eight of its high schools beginning Monday due to “an acute bus driver shortage made worse by a spike in Covid-19 cases,” according to a statement from Guilford County Schools.

“As of this weekend, we don’t have enough bus drivers to continue serving all students, so we had to make some really tough choices,” said Michelle Reed, director of operations for the school district.

To overcome the pressure on parents and guardians, the district has developed a partnership that will “allow high school students to ride city buses for free,” according to a GCS statement.

Other industries are affected

Not only has the pressures of Omicron’s surge affected health care workers and educators, but other sectors are also struggling due to the rising infection rate.

Some municipalities have seen nearly a quarter of their garbage-collecting workforce in recent weeks due to Covid-19, which has led to delays, according to the Solid Waste Association of North America.

“This has unfortunately coincided with an increase in the volume of waste and recycling associated with the holidays. However, we hope that as volumes decrease and sanitation workers return to work, these delays will be temporary,” CEO and CEO David Biderman said in a statement Monday. .

Health insurers must pay for Home Covid-19 tests from Saturday
In the travel space, US airlines canceled thousands of extra flights over the weekend due to Covid-19 callouts and winter storms, and Royal Caribbean International announced it was canceling flights on four ships due to “ongoing Covid-related conditions around the world”. Last week, Norwegian Cruise Line canceled flights of eight ships.

Public transit systems in major metropolitan areas such as New York City and Washington, D.C. have had to scale back service with employees sick from Covid-19.

In Detroit, 20-25% of SMART bus service has been canceled or delayed, the agency said in a statement Saturday.

The agency said Portland, Oregon, buses “face the largest shortage of operators in the agency’s history” and cut bus service 9% starting Sunday.

Rosa Flores, Claudia Dominguez, David Shortel, Pete Montaigne, Deidre MacPhillips, Melissa Alonso, Hana Sarrison, Sherry Mosberg and Jane Silva contributed to this report.

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