These 12 States Have Uncontrolled COVID Outbreaks, Doctors Say
Just as the nation's top experts have been warning for months, the COVID-19 situation is increasingly intensifying as we are entering into the coldest seasons of the year. Infections are increasing across the country, with many states breaking their records on a daily basis. As expected, other grim statistics are also trending in the wrong direction. In fact, the United States broke a monumental record on Tuesday, as the number of people currently hospitalized with the deadly virus topping 60,000. The 61,694 currently seeking inpatient treatment for the virus is 2,024 more than the previous record set on April 15 during the initial surge. And, when hospitalizations increase, deaths are soon to follow. Here are 12 states where hospitalizations are surging. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
While many regions of the country are still faring better than they did in the spring in regards to COVID infections and hospitalizations, the majority of the regions in Illinois are experiencing "far higher rates" of hospitalizations than spring, according to Gov. J.B. Pritzker. In fact, other than Chicago and the close suburb of Cook County, "much of Illinois' communities are experiencing the worst that they've seen yet."
According to South Dakota Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon infections and hospitalizations are steeply increasing. "The numbers of cases tend to translate into numbers of hospitalizations, two to four weeks later," she said. "And if we're going to be seeing deaths from those cases, that will come later yet."
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, the incoming chief medical officer for the state's health department has revealed that the entire state of Ohio is experiencing an "unprecedented spike" in hospitalizations. "Every county in the state is feeling the brunt of rising Covid-19 hospitalizations," he said on Tuesday. "If we don't control the spread of the virus and our case numbers, we won't be able to continue caring for the acutely ill without postponing important, but less urgent care." He also added that the supply of trained personnel is being exhausted.
"They can't escape the rising numbers of Covid-19 numbers in their communities," he added.
Similar to its neighbor in the South, North Dakota is experiencing the worst of the pandemic so far. They currently boast the worst per-capita death rate in the country and their hospitals are at 100% capacity. The situation is getting so bad and resources so strained, that Governor Doug Burgum is allowing healthcare workers infected with the virus who are asymptomatic to continue treating COVID patients.
While Texas is experiencing an undeniable surge of infections, El Paso county is currently in major crisis. Gov. Greg Abbot has requested that non-COVID patients be moved to a medical center at Fort Bliss to make room for the influx of those fighting the virus, as well as additional healthcare workers. "The medical personnel and supplies we are deploying to El Paso build upon the resources the state previously sent to the community and will provide much needed support to area hospitals and first responders," Abbott said in a statement. "The State of Texas will continue to work with local officials to protect public health and help the El Paso community mitigate the spread of COVID-19." The region has also set up six mobile morgues —and has requested four more trailers —to hold all the bodies they expect in the coming weeks.
As Utah becomes increasingly closer to reaching hospital capacity, Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency and issued a statewide mask mandate on Monday. "Our hospitals are full," Herbert said in a video clip released this week. "This threatens patients who rely on hospital care from everything from covid-19 to emergencies like heart attacks, strokes, surgeries and trauma. We must work together to keep infections low until a vaccine is available."
In Wisconsin, where records are being broken every day, the healthcare industry is quickly becoming overwhelmed due to the surge of COVID-19 infections. On Oct. 27, the state reported a record 5,200 positive cases, with 187 available IC beds. Last week, there were just 118 open. Many are also dealing with staff shortages to treat COVID patients. Gov. Tony Evers has been attempting to tighten restrictions and mask mandates, but is being challenged by conservative lawmakers. "This is another blow to our state's response to this pandemic and our efforts to keep Wisconsinites safe," Evers recently said in a statement. "We will continue challenging this decision, but the bottom line is that we can't wait for the courts to figure this out — we need Wisconsinites to stay home and mask up, and it has to start today. It's the only way we will get this virus under control and ensure our economy can recover."
Des Moines, the largest city in Iowa, is currently experiencing the worst of the pandemic so far. UnityPoint Health Des Moines confirmed this week to KCCI that all their hospitals are at capacity for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.UnityPoint Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Rossana Rosa, Methodist Medical Center, Lutheran Hospital, Methodist West and Blank Children's Hospital are full. "This is truly the worst point that we have ever experienced throughout the pandemic," Rosa said. "Not even when we were into the May peak did we have numbers that were this high."
In Kansas City, hospitals are at the brink of capacity, with hospitalizations the highest they have been since the start of the pandemic. "We are at a critical juncture between concern and crisis. Unfortunately, that needle is trending more and more toward crisis every day," Dr. Steven Stites with the University of Kansas Medical Center told KCTV5.
Minnesota, experiencing their worst surge of the virus thus far, is also on the brink of hitting ICU capacity. Statewide, ICUs are at 92% capacity, while the Minneapolis metro area is at 98%. Over the last two weeks, there have been over 100 new hospitalizations daily—compared to just 20-30 in June.
Last week, Missouri broke their hospitalization record, and hospitals in the St. Louis area are quickly approaching capacity. On Friday, the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reported the seven-day average number of new daily hospitalizations broke a record, reaching 73. Just one month ago the average was 35. They revealed that 522 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 across the hospitals—compared to less than 250 people at the beginning of October.
Montana, where the virus is surging, the healthcare system is quickly becoming overwhelmed. According to the Montana Department of Health of Human Services weekly hospital capacity report, 4 of the 10 largest hospitals are in the "red zone"—signifying they are 90 to 100 percent full.
How to Avoid Death During the Pandemic
No matter where you live, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.