Idaho, Pennsylvania, Texas hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19

Hospitals in several states are starting to turn away COVID-19 patients as they run out of beds and staff to care for them.

The nation had a new daily high of nearly 228,000 infections on Friday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. At least 2,607 people died Friday, bringing the seven-day average of deaths over 2,000 for the first time since spring.

Hospitalizations are also at a record, with at least 101,276 people receiving in-patient treatment nationwide as of Friday, the Daily Mail reported.

Hospitalizations are rising in 38 states compared to two weeks ago, including New York, the COVID Tracking Project reports. They have been steady in 10 states over the past 14 days, and fallen in just eight states.

But while more people are being hospitalized for the virus, the percentage of people with the disease who are getting admitted to hospitals is dropping, according to the Atlantic, as the surge of sick people nears overwhelming health care systems in several states.

As hospitalizations soar and health care systems get overwhelmed, an increasing number of virus patients who might have gotten admitted to the hospital are being sent home because there’s not enough space to care for them, according to The Atlantic.

In Idaho, National Guard troops were called in to help triage patients outside an urgent-care facility turned COVIID-19 clinic, while the staff inside work 12-hour shifts.

Just over 1,000 people have died from the disease in the state, as hospitals cancel elective surgeries and send hundreds of patients home with devices to monitor their blood oxygen levels themselves. Officials fear a continued surge of infections could force difficult choices about what to do with patients when there’s no more room or anyone available to treat them.

“When would we reach absolute capacity? I just don’t know. But we’re nervous,” Barton Hill, vice president of St. Luke’s Health System, which has hospitals in southwestern and central Idaho, told The Associated Press. He suggested that health care workers could have to start choosing who gets treatment and who doesn’t in the next two weeks.

Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.AP

Hospitals in Pennsylvania are so strained, one man took to social media to find an ICU bed for his mother on Tuesday. A nurse in a nearby city saw the post and was able to help find her a bed.

In Texas, patients are waiting for beds in emergency rooms as capacity reaches its limits, and one region of the state is warning they may have to start asking people to wait in their cars to avoid overcrowding.

Meanwhile, in Wyoming, where 257 people have died from COVID and 222 people were hospitalized as of Thursday, the Casper Star Tribune reported that a Health Department doctor involved in the state’s response questioned the legitimacy of the pandemic at an event last month.

Dr. Igor Shepherd, readiness and countermeasures manager for the Wyoming Department of Health, called the crisis a “so-called pandemic” invented by Russia and China as a tool to spread communism across the globe. He also share a debunked conspiracy theory about the coming COVID-19 vaccine, saying it had been developed as a biological weapon and would reprogram a person’s immune system.

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