'An urgent crisis': Hospitals in several states hit capacity — 8 notes

At least 14 states are hitting record high COVID-19 hospitalizations, with seven more states close to peaking, according to The COVID-19 Tracking Project data cited by The New York Times.

Eight things to know:

1. More than 41,000 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in the U.S., a 40 percent rise in the last month.

2. More COVID-19 hospitalizations were recorded during an April surge in New York City and in the Sun Belt this July, but the rising numbers now are testing smaller hospital systems, particularly in the Midwest and the Mountain West.

3. "Make no mistake about this, this is an urgent crisis," Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said Oct. 22 of the state's outbreak. An emergency field hospital opened on the Wisconsin State Fair grounds and admitted its first patient this week. The 530-bed hospital is the state's "ultimate insurance policy," said state Health Secretary-designee Andrea Palm.  

4. One-fifth of Utah patients in intensive care units are COVID-19 patients, said Gov. Gary Herbert, adding that the state is preparing to open a field hospital south of Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City-based University of Utah Hospital canceled elective procedures after its intensive care unit hit 104 percent capacity Oct. 16, according to Newsweek. 

5. Kootenai Health in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is looking to transfer patients to facilities in Seattle and Portland, Ore., as its hospital nears capacity and COVID-19 cases surge in the region. Kootenai Health, which includes a 330-bed community-owned hospital, said Oct. 21 that the hospital is at 99 percent capacity for medical or surgical care and facing a shortage of workers. 

6. "Our regional hospitals are all running at or near capacity on a daily basis," said David Basel, MD, a vice president at Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Avera Medical Group, which runs about three dozen hospitals in the Midwest.

7. Eight Kansas City, Mo.-based hospitals and emergency departments had to refuse ambulances Oct. 14 because they hit capacity. 

8. “I don't really see any signs that things are slowing down, and that concerns me a lot," Caitlin Rivers, PhD, an epidemiologist at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University, told the NYT. "It has to be our starting premise that it's not going to slow down unless we force it to slow down."

More articles on patient flow:
Georgia hospital to close emergency department
Outpatient visits return to levels seen before pandemic, report finds
Chicago area slated to lose 14th hospital in 20 years

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