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One state is down to 2 ICU beds while thousands of additional students quarantine due to Covid-19

Covid-19 hospitalizations have doubled over the past three weeks, with 83,693 people hospitalized this week, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Posted: Aug 17, 2021 12:52 PM

By Holly Yan and Madeline Holcombe, CNN

(CNN) -- Those unvaccinated against Covid-19 aren't just risking their own health -- they're also jeopardizing medical care for others and fueling a surge that's forcing more students to quarantine, doctors say.

Covid-19 hospitalizations have doubled over the past three weeks, with 83,693 people hospitalized this week, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Only two ICU beds are left in the entire state of Alabama, the Alabama Hospital Association told CNN on Tuesday.

"We represent health care providers who have seen far too many of our fellow citizens become ill and die because of this disease, including children," the AHA and several other health care organizations said in a statement.

"We join all of you in wanting this to go away, but for that to happen it's going to take all of us. We respectfully request that those currently unvaccinated reconsider their decision. The benefits of getting vaccinated FAR outweigh any potential risk."

Alabama has 1,562 staffed intensive care unit beds and 1,560 patients in need of ICU care, AHA Executive Vice President Rosemary Blackmon told CNN. The Alabama Department of Public Health said 2,631 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 complications.

In Tennessee, "We are prepared to deploy additional medical personnel from the Tennessee National Guard to our hospitals in greatest need of assistance," the state health department wrote in a letter Monday.

In Kentucky, hospitals are starting to cancel or postpone surgeries that would require post-operative admission to the hospital, state Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said.

"ICU and ventilator data -- it is a vertical climb," Stack said Tuesday. "There's no sign it is abating. We are already just shy of our all-time record. Another day or two, we'll be past that record for ICUs."

Thousands more students are forced to stay home
More than 3,000 students and employees have been quarantined in the New Orleans Public School District due to Covid-19 cases in the past week, according to the district's latest tally.

That represents 5.89% of all students and teachers in the school district.

In Florida, 5,599 students and 316 employees in in Hillsborough County Public Schools were in isolation or quarantine as of Monday morning due to Covid-19 cases, according to the school district.

At least 577 students and 352 employees have tested positive this month, according to the district's Covid-19 tracker.

The Hillsborough County School Board said it will have an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss Covid-19 mitigation strategies -- which may include "mandatory face coverings for all students and staff."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' office has said the state could withhold salaries of officials who impose mask mandates in schools.

But most Americans -- 69% -- support local school districts requiring everyone to wear masks when inside schools, according to Axios-Ipsos poll results published Tuesday.

A majority, 77%, oppose state governments withholding funding from school districts or local governments that implement mask mandates.

The poll, which was conducted August 13 to 16 and made up of a nationally representative sample of 1,041 US adults, also found that 64% of Americans support state and local governments requiring masks in all public places.

The US is 'flying blind' on the full extent of Covid-19 and kids
Doctors say one way to help students stay in classrooms is to have students -- particularly those who are not vaccinated -- wear masks in school, health experts say.

"It shouldn't be for months. It shouldn't be forever. But right now, when people are coming back in, masking is a reasonable public health step," said Dr. Brett Giroir, former assistant secretary for health in the Trump administration.

"I support it and encourage parents to encourage their children to do it."

During this Delta variant surge, Covid-19 hospitalizations have soared among children. But the total number of severe pediatric cases is unknown.

"Only 23 states and New York City actually report the number of children in hospitals," said Giroir, a pediatrician. He said Texas and Florida are among the states where the total number of child Covid-19 hospitalizations are unknown.

"Talking about flying blind, relative to children," Giroir said. "We need better data, and that's got to be the basis for action."

Giroir said it's important to remember the risk of long Covid for some who get Covid-19 -- "meaning for months they'll be in pain, they'll be fatigued, they'll have brain fog, because their memory centers in their brain shrink."

Because Covid-19 vaccination is only available for Americans ages 12 and up, face masks play a key role in helping children avoid the Delta variant -- and keeping students in school instead of quarantine, CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen said.

If students are going to be in a room before they can all be vaccinated, it is crucial to have proper testing, ventilation and masking, Wen said.

"Why wouldn't we want every single tool at our disposal to help to keep our children safe at this point?" she said.

'The Delta variant ... is because of unvaccinated reservoirs'
About 50.8% of Americans have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That leaves plenty of chances for the highly contagious Delta variant to spread, send more people to hospitals and prevent more students from learning in classrooms.

"The Delta variant that we're dealing with is because of unvaccinated reservoirs," said Dr. Chris T. Pernell, fellow at the American College of Preventive Medicine.

"When we have a significant portion of the population (unvaccinated) ... the virus runs amok. It has free course to mutate and to try to get ahead of the interventions and immune system."

Booster shots might be available in the coming months
Fully vaccinated people might be able to get more protection against Covid-19 in the form of a booster shot in the coming months.

On Monday, Pfizer and BioNTech said they submitted initial data to the US Food and Drug Administration to support the use of a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The dose elicited a significantly higher antibody response against the initial strain of coronavirus and the Delta and Beta variants compared to what was seen among people who got two doses, they said.

The booster dose seemed to be equally protective against the Delta and Beta variants as against the original strain of novel coronavirus.

But "that's actually ... not answering the key question we have remaining right now," Wen said. "The key question is: How quickly does immunity wane after the first two doses?"

With the more transmissible Delta variant spreading, top officials in the Biden administration are coming to an agreement that most Americans should get a booster shot eight months after being fully vaccinated, according to sources familiar with the discussions.

The Biden administration's plan, which is still being developed, would involve administering third shots beginning in mid- to late September, one source told CNN, pending authorization from the FDA.

Because health care workers and nursing home patients were first to receive their shots, the administration expects they'll be first to receive boosters as well.

Last week, the FDA authorized third doses for some people who are immunocompromised. The CDC almost immediately recommended giving those doses.

Hospitals feeling the weight of the increase
Forty states are seeing a surge in the average number of new cases compared to the week before, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And the impact can be seen in strained health care systems.

Cases in Mississippi have continued to rise, with the latest data from the state department of health showing 7,839 new cases and 52 new deaths in the three days to August 15.

In response to the record number of Covid-19 hospitalizations, the University of Mississippi Medical Center said a second field hospital is being constructed in one of its parking garages.

The field hospital will have critical care capacity and care for up to 32 patients at a time, the medical center said.

In Texas, following a review of the rise in fatalities, the Department of State Health Services submitted a request for five mortuary trailers as "a normal part of preparedness to have these available to support local jurisdictions in case they need them," DSHS Press Officer Douglas Loveday said.

Like the governor of Florida, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order banning school districts from requiring masks.

Texas and Florida lead the nation in pediatric hospitalizations.

As of Monday, 239 Texas children were hospitalized with Covid-19, according to HHS data. Texas had 170 children hospitalized with Covid-19.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 348766

Reported Deaths: 4161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54797689
Washington37988313
Marion36055444
Clackamas29094304
Lane26966298
Jackson22632300
Deschutes19577123
Umatilla14241144
Linn12380120
Douglas11795240
Josephine9233195
Yamhill8517110
Klamath7709110
Polk715380
Malheur551574
Benton529130
Coos489691
Columbia371343
Jefferson361450
Union313146
Lincoln310638
Wasco281540
Crook274745
Clatsop239529
Baker198028
Tillamook193328
Hood River188337
Morrow181623
Curry178122
Harney108424
Grant97612
Lake89011
Wallowa67012
Gilliam1484
Sherman1463
Wheeler991
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4810682

Reported Deaths: 70604
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147569426398
Riverside3693444990
San Diego3641044163
San Bernardino3563155566
Orange3227415518
Sacramento1576212279
Santa Clara1445181890
Kern1441461605
Fresno1441232051
Alameda1198871374
San Joaquin1018071708
Ventura1005241164
Contra Costa99234982
Stanislaus851571315
Tulare78945951
San Francisco54031645
San Mateo53828622
Monterey50696582
Solano45761334
Santa Barbara44836521
Merced41781577
Sonoma40711402
Placer38902415
Imperial35642764
Kings32369314
San Luis Obispo29653329
Madera23518281
Butte23364260
Shasta23360334
Santa Cruz20861218
Yolo20147247
Marin17581243
El Dorado16960149
Sutter13775169
Napa12808100
Yuba994282
Tehama9298104
Humboldt9102108
Nevada903990
Mendocino752786
Lassen746346
San Benito737372
Tuolumne673993
Lake6506104
Amador537264
Siskiyou442742
Glenn430330
Calaveras381780
Del Norte356141
Colusa301718
Inyo196739
Mono16445
Plumas15756
Mariposa127315
Trinity86011
Modoc6698
Unassigned1860
Sierra1760
Alpine1020
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