The number of US patients hospitalized with Covid-19 has hit a record high — a situation straining health care networks and pushing states toward emergency staffing and other measures as they struggle to cope, according to CNN.
More than 145,900 people were in US hospitals with Covid-19 as of Tuesday — surpassing the previous peak from January 2021, and more than twice as many as two weeks ago, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The previous peak was 142,246, on January 14, 2021. During the Delta-variant surge over the summer, the number peaked at about 104,000 on September 1.
This comes amid a surge in cases fueled by the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant. Hospitals are increasingly juggling staffing issues — not just because of the increased demand, but also because their employees, who are at a high risk of infection, have to isolate and recover after testing positive.
In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam declared a limited state of emergency Monday as the number of ICU hospitalizations more than doubled since December 1. The order allows hospitals to expand bed capacity and gives more flexibility in staffing, he said, adding that it also expands the use of telehealth as well as expanding which medical professionals can give vaccines.
In Texas, at least 2,700 medical staffers are being hired, trained and deployed to assist with the surge, joining more than 1,300 personnel already sent across the state, the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a statement to CNN.