In 14 states, Covid-19 deaths have increased by more than 50% in the past week, while 28 other states have seen an increase of at least 10%, according to data from Johns Hopkins University on Friday. .
In Alabama, one of the hardest-hit states in the latest wave, the overall number of hospitalizations continues to climb, prompting health officials to use mobile trailers to house bodies because of the deaths from Covid- 19 are skyrocketing, state health official Dr Scott Harris said on Friday.
The state activated two of its four refrigerated trailers for the first time since the start of the pandemic, Harris said, in Mobile and Baldwin counties this week.
“These usually take place in the event of a mass casualty event, for example, when a large number of bodies appear at the same time. This is actually a situation that is happening in Alabama hospitals right now, ”Harris said.
Alabama reported 50 Covid-19-related deaths on Thursday and recorded a “double-digit death toll” in the past two to three weeks, Harris said.
At least 5,571 children in Alabama tested positive for Covid-19 last week, Harris said Friday, noting officials do not know where the children contracted the virus. The state currently has a 23% positivity rate for Covid-19, among the highest in the country, Harris said.
Alabama is seeing an increase in pediatric cases compared to last year, Harris explained. Of the 2,879 people hospitalized with Covid-19 on Thursday, 45 of them are children, with at least five on ventilators, Harris said.
“Many schools are now struggling to keep the doors open and many are going virtual,” he said.
All 50 states have high rates of Covid-19 transmission, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, as millions of children who cannot be vaccinated return to school. The CDC identifies transmission of the virus as high when the total number of new cases per 100,000 people over a 7-day period is 100 or more cases.
With around 32% of people aged 12 to 17 fully vaccinated, teens have been difficult to vaccinate, but there are a few highlights.
More than 86% of 12 to 17 year olds who received a first dose would later complete their vaccinations, which is necessary for optimal protection against the Delta variant, according to a CDC study.
The study highlights the importance of immunizing eligible children and youth upon returning from school.
“Improving vaccine coverage and implementing Covid-19 prevention strategies are crucial to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with Covid-19 in adolescents and to facilitate a safer reopening of schools for the in-person learning, ”the researchers wrote in the study.
Covid-19 hits school staff and students
The start of the school year has been devastating for some states and districts which are seeing worrying numbers of students contracting the virus. Preventive measures such as quarantine are underway across the country.
In Mississippi, 28,990 students were quarantined between August 16 and 20 after possible exposure to Covid-19, according to data from the state’s health department, compared to 20,334 students who were quarantined. quarantine from August 9 to 13.
Admittedly, it is not known how many of them are new students in quarantine, or students who have had to remain in quarantine since the previous week. Schools are reporting the numbers, not the names, of people quarantined, according to the health ministry.
A total of 11,766 students and 2,383 employees have tested positive for Covid-19 in Mississippi schools since early August, when school began.
In California, the Unified Schools of Los Angeles on Friday reported 2,761 active cases of Covid-19 among students and staff, according to the district dashboard. The district said as of Tuesday, 3,000 students and 500 employees were to self-isolate at home while 3,500 students and 500 employees were to self-quarantine at home.
The country’s second largest district has adopted some of the strictest mitigation measures in its more than 1,000 schools. But officials remain on their guard over the spread.
“We anticipate an upward trend in epidemics as our schools reopen, but we continue to work hard to prevent, investigate and manage them as they occur,” said the director of LA County Public Health Barbara Ferrer in a weekly briefing Thursday.
Healthcare resources stretched for non-Covid-19 patients
As the increase in Covid-19 cases persists, medical care for other health needs is reduced.
Three OhioHealth hospitals have decided to temporarily suspend elective surgeries that require an overnight stay due to an influx of hospitalizations for Covid-19, spokesman Colin Yoder told CNN in a statement on Friday. The move, effective Monday, frees capacity and hospital staff, he explained.
“Due to the fluid nature of this fourth surge, we will continuously monitor capacity and interrupt or resume elective surgeries with an overnight stay as needed,” Yoder said.
The challenges of maintaining a high standard of health care are not limited to personnel issues. There has also been a shortage of monoclonal antibody treatments used to treat both hospital patients with Covid-19 and those with serious chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
The Actemra treatment received emergency use authorization from the United States Food and Drug Administration in June to treat people with Covid-19. The drug reduces inflammation which can make patients sicker. It’s used regularly for people with rheumatoid arthritis, but Genentech, the company that makes Actemra, doesn’t have enough for everyone who needs it.
Last week, the company said demand for the drug had increased by more than 400% beyond pre-Covid-19 levels within two weeks. Supplies of several dose levels of the drug have been out of stock in the United States since last Monday.
On Thursday, Genentech told customers it was “working as quickly as possible to expedite replenishments and increase manufacturing capacity and supply where possible.”
The company said the drug is expected to be available for distribution from Monday, but “given the limited and continued supply, Genentech anticipates additional intermittent periods of stockouts in the coming months if the pandemic continues. at the current rate ”.
CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Virginia Langmaid, Mallory Simon, Jen Christensen, Jennifer Henderson and Alta Spells contributed to this report.