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9 States Where COVID Is "Out of Control," Say Experts

Cases and hospitalizations are rising again—quickly.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Coronavirus cases are back up to more than 100,000 a day in the United States, fueled by colder weather, holiday travel, and two variants sweeping the nation: Delta and the new one, Omicron. And despite what one member of Congress has said, "real America" is not "done with COVID." In fact, in many parts of America, ICUs and hospitals are overrun with new cases. Which ones are the most in trouble? How can you stay safe? Read on to learn about all 9—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Vermont Hospitals are "Significantly" Strained

Montpelier, Vermont, USA town skyline in autumn.

"The hospitalization rate in Vermont has reached the point the governor said would cause significant strain on the system," reports WCAX. "One month ago, it was projected hospitalizations could hit 80 if the trend continued. As of Sunday, 81 people were admitted. There was also another new record number of cases in a single day, with 643 new cases were reported Sunday. The record case count comes two days after Vermont reported the previous single-day record of 604 on Friday. Patients are being moved around and some beds are being added to handle COVID patients."


Wisconsin Hospitals are "Paralyzed"

Wisconsin Welcome sign at Marinette WI

"Wisconsin's hospital leaders say their facilities are bottlenecked as the number of COVID-19 patients continues to rise, forcing them to turn down requests for transfers from smaller hospitals of patients who need advanced or specialty care. It's driving some patients to travel hundreds of miles from home to receive hospital care," reports Port Crescent. "Wisconsin's hospital leaders say their facilities are bottlenecked as the number of COVID-19 patients continues to rise, forcing them to turn down requests for transfers from smaller hospitals of patients who need advanced or specialty care. It's driving some patients to travel hundreds of miles from home to receive hospital care."

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Rhode Island is Seeing a Spike

providence rhode island skyline at dawn

"For the second year in a row, Rhode Island is seeing a spike in new COVID-19 cases as the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors, as well as gather for the holidays," reports WPRI. "While the 903 new cases reported Thursday are the most in a single day since Jan. 21, the situation overall is still better than this time last year."


ICU Beds are Scarce in Illinois

Photo of the Millenium Park at the blue hour time

"The state reported 11,524 new, confirmed and probable cases of COVID Thursday — the most its seen n a single day since Dec. 1, 2020, when 12,542 new cases of the virus were reported," reports NBC Chicago. Worse: "The latest statistics from the Illinois Department of Health show that intensive care unit beds are in short supply in some regions," reports Fox 32. "The state's 'Region 7' area, which covers southern Cook County, plus Will, Grundy, and Kankakee counties, had just eight ICU beds available as of Dec. 2. Statewide, as of Dec. 2, 327 ICU beds were available out of 3,052."

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Michigan is in Freefall

Historic buildings in Downtown Detroit - Michigan, United States

"Nearly one-in-four Michigan hospital patients has a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, packing the state's health systems to unprecedented levels Friday. Some hospitals said they've flown past near capacity levels and are now 'beyond capacity' in some units," reports Bridge Michigan. "The number of daily COVID-19 deaths in Michigan's hospitals has doubled in the past month, with an average of 70 fatalities a day for the past week — equal to the worst days of last winter's surge."


New Mexico Just Set a New Record

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA downtown skyline at dusk.

"Until Thursday, New Mexico hadn't recorded more than 2,000 new coronavirus cases in a day since late last year. Now, it has surpassed the number twice in two days, according to the Department of Health," reports the Santa Fe New Mexican. "On Friday, the state recorded 2,388 new cases — a jump from the 2,054 reported on Thursday. Also as of Friday, a Santa Fe man in his 80s was among 14 more New Mexicans killed by virus-related complications."

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Idaho Will Start Testing Sewage for COVID

Boise cityscape at night with traffic light

"Idaho Health and Welfare Bureau Chief and Laboratory Director Dr. Christopher Ball says the state is about six weeks away from standing up new wastewater testing programs for COVID-19 at Idaho's four state universities," reports Boise State Public Radio. "The new capacity will allow more communities to test for the presence of COVID-19. The city of Boise is one of several in Idaho which has tested wastewater since the beginning of the pandemic. Determining the viral load in a wastewater sample uses the same type of PCR test given to individuals."


Minnesota is Having a Thanksgiving Surge

Mississippi River, Minneapolis skyline

"A frustrating and complicated week around COVID-19 in Minnesota is closing out with no clear sense of the pandemic's next steps," reports MPR. "Signs earlier in the week that the disease might have been ebbing have been eclipsed by news that COVID-19's omicron variant has surfaced in the state. On Friday, Minnesota Health Department data showed strong indications of a Thanksgiving-related surge in cases."

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Maine Cases and Hospitalizations are Spiking

Augusta, Maine, USA downtown skyline on the Kennebec River.

"The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Maine jumped Monday to an all-time high, an apparent result of a post-Thanksgiving spike on top of the ongoing surge fueled by the more contagious delta variant of the disease," reports the Press Herald. "There were 361 hospitalized patients in Maine hospitals Monday morning, including 112 people in intensive care and 60 patients on ventilators, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. All are new pandemic highs." 

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How to Protect You and Others

Happy vaccinated woman gesturing thumbs up.

To protect yourself no matter where you live, get vaccinated or boosted. And wear a mask if indoors or in areas of high COVID spread. "Our recommendations for protecting against COVID remain the same regardless of the variant," said CDC Chief Rochelle Walensky. "The positive news in all of this is that none of the information we have currently about omicron suggests we need to change the directions of our response," said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
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