A number of states in the US have imposed restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as people admitted to hospitals surged, straining the facilities and medical resources across much of the country.
California’s health and human services secretary, Dr Mark Ghaly, told reporters that the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has risen by 32 percent over the past two weeks and intensive-care admissions have spiked by 30 percent.
As a result, he announced that three counties that are home to about 5.5 million people – San Diego, Sacramento and Stanislaus – must “reverse their reopening plans and go back to the most restrictive category of regulations” under which indoor dining in restaurants is not allowed and gyms and religious institutions are also not permitted to hold indoor activities.
“We anticipate if things stay the way they are … over half of California counties will have moved into a more restrictive tier by next week,” Dr Ghaly added.
In Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz announced new restrictions as the state reported a fresh record high in daily COVID-19 hospitalizations prompting medical facilities to express concerns about their ability to cope with the surge.
Mr Walz stated that beginning on 13th November, restaurants and bars in Minnesota must close dine-in services between 10pm and 4am and keep the number of patrons below 50 percent of capacity. The governor’s order also includes private social gatherings, which must be limited to 10 people from three households or less.
“We’ve turned our dials, we’re going to have to turn them back a little bit today,” Walz told a briefing.
The state reported 1,224 coronavirus hospitalizations on 10th November, up from 1,084 the previous day.
In Illinois, which recorded its highest number of daily cases on 10th November with 12,626 new infections, Governor JB Pritzker told reporters the majority of the state’s regions were seeing higher hospitalization rates compared with last spring.
Meanwhile, US Health Secretary, Alex Azar has expressed concern about rising hospitalizations that are straining medical facilities in areas hardest hit by the surge, and said health officials will work to set up temporary medical facilities where they might be needed.
There were more than 59,000 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the US on 9th November, the country’s highest number ever of in-patients being treated for the disease. Daily new infections exceeded 100,000 for the sixth consecutive day.
US infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci has warned the winter months promise to bring more infections as people stay indoors despite the Pfizer vaccine announcement.
Fauci said health officials were reporting more infections from small gatherings, an indication the virus is being spread by asymptomatic people.
“There are people out there, innocently and unwittingly, who are infected, don’t have any symptoms, who are infecting others,” he told reporters. “So much more widespread testing of asymptomatic individuals is going to be very important as we enter, and go into, these months of indoor-type gathering.”
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