American coronavirus: Hospitalizations for Covid-19 in the United States reach levels not seen since the outbreak last winter

The burden is straining healthcare networks as hospitals juggle staffing challenges caused by increased demand associated with employees, who are at higher risk of infection, having to self-isolate and recover after tested positive.

In Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam declared a limited state of emergency on Monday as the number of intensive care hospitalizations more than doubled since December 1. The ordinance allows hospitals to increase bed capacity and give more flexibility in staffing, he said, adding that it also extends the use of telehealth and expands the number of professionals. health workers who can administer vaccines.

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

Kentucky has mobilized the National Guard in support, with 445 members dispatched to 30 health facilities, the state said.

“Omicron continues to burn across the Commonwealth, increasing to levels we have never seen before. Omicron is significantly more contagious than even the Delta variant,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, noting the previous variant which has spurred a wave of cases in the summer and fall months.

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

In Kansas, the University of Kansas Health System, which has announced a record number of Covid-19 patients, “is moving staff from areas that can take over the support functions of direct patient care,” said UKHS Director of Operations Chris Ruder said. “So it can be running a lab, it can be just transporting patients. That kind of thing, we can use other people to help us.”

Mitigation measures such as compulsory masking are also being re-launched in some areas.

Delaware Gov. John Carney signed a universal indoor mask mandate on Monday due to increased hospital admissions as some hospitals “have over 100% inpatient bed capacity amid staff shortages crippling, “he said in a statement. Churches and places of worship are exempt from the mandate, while companies are expected to provide masks to customers and have signage on indoor mask requirements.

“I know we are all exhausted from this pandemic. But at the level of hospitalizations that we are seeing, the Delawaren who need emergency care might not be able to get it. It’s just a fact. time for everyone to participate and do what works. Wear your mask indoors. Avoid gatherings or expect to catch and spread Covid. Get vaccinated and, if you are eligible, do so. boost you, that’s how we’ll get through this wave without putting more lives at risk, ”Carney said.

A technician administers a Covid-19 test Monday at a drive-thru service in Churchill Downs, Ky.

Schools Face Omicron Problems

The debate over school safety from Covid-19 continues to unfold as only about one in six children aged 5 to 11 are fully immunized, according to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention..

As Los Angeles prepared to return to school on Tuesday, around 62,000 students and staff had tested positive for Covid-19 and will be required to stay home, data from the Los Angeles Unified School District showed on Monday. which equates to a positivity rate of 14.99%. The positivity rate for Los Angeles County as a whole, by comparison, has climbed to 22%.

From Europe to the United States, cases of Covid in children are increasing.  Schools are not prepared
In Chicago, educators will return to school on Tuesday and students are expected to learn in person on Wednesday following a conflict lasting nearly a week. The Chicago Teachers Union voted to teach remotely last week, and the school district responded by canceling classes for four days.
The deal, announced Monday evening, included measures for when a classroom should be moved away due to Covid-19 levels.
In areas where schools have reverted to in-person learning after the holidays, the time it takes for people with Covid-19 to recover has impacted some essential services.

A school district in Greensboro, North Carolina, suspended school bus transportation for eight of its high schools starting Monday due to “severe shortage of bus drivers made worse by increasing cases of Covid-19” , according to a statement from schools in Guilford County.

“As of this weekend, we didn’t have enough bus drivers to continue serving all the students, so we had to make some very difficult choices,” said Michelle Reed, GCS director of operations.

To offset the pressure exerted on parents and guardians, the district has developed a partnership “which will allow high school students to take city buses for free,” according to the GCS press release.

Other sectors continue to be affected

Not only has the pressure of the Omicron push taken its toll among healthcare workers and educators, other sectors are also struggling due to the high infection rate.

According to the Solid Waste Association of North America, some municipalities have seen nearly a quarter of their garbage collection workforce become ill in recent weeks due to Covid-19, causing delays.

“This unfortunately coincided with the increase in waste and recycling volumes associated with vacations. However, we hope that as the volumes decrease and sanitation workers return to work, these delays will prove to be temporary.” Executive Director and CEO David Biderman said in a statement on Monday. .

Home Covid-19 tests must be paid by health insurers from Saturday
While traveling, U.S. airlines canceled thousands of additional flights over the weekend due to Covid-19 calls and winter storms, and cruise line Royal Caribbean International announced it had canceled trips on four ships due to “Covid-related circumstances around the world”. Last week, Norwegian Cruise Line canceled the trips of eight ships.

Transit systems in major metropolitan areas such as New York and Washington, DC, have had to cut back on service with employees sick with Covid-19.

In Detroit, 20 to 25 percent of the SMART bus service is canceled or delayed, the agency said in a statement on Saturday.

And buses in Portland, Oregon, “face the largest operator shortage in agency history” and have cut bus service by 9% as of Sunday, the company said. agency.

CNN’s Rosa Flores, Claudia Dominguez, David Shortell, Pete Muntean, Deidre McPhillips, Melissa Alonso, Hannah Sarisohn, Cheri Mossburg and Jenn Selva contributed to this report.

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