16 states see record COVID-19 hospitalizations; CDC expands definition of 'close contact' — 6 updates

As of Oct. 22, about 39,000 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized in the U.S., the most since early August, according to data from the COVID-19 Tracking Project cited by Axios.

Sixteen states are reporting the highest share of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began. 

Five other updates:

1. The CDC revised its definition of "close contact" with someone who has COVID-19. Previously, the agency defined close contact as 15 minutes of continuous exposure, while the new definition includes a total of 15 minutes of exposure spent six feet or closer to an infected individual. Close contact also includes providing at-home care for someone with COVID-19, direct physical contact with the person, sharing eating or drinking utensils or being sneezed or coughed on by someone with COVID-19.

2. Wisconsin had the highest percentage of COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Oct. 19, with 9.4 percent of beds occupied by virus patients, according to Axios' morning newsletter. The state admitted its first field hospital patient Oct. 21, while also setting a daily COVID-19 death record at 48 deaths and recording more than 4,000 new cases, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  

3. At least 130,000 COVID-19 deaths could've been avoided in the U.S. through earlier policy interventions and more national coordination, according to a new report from the Columbia University's National Center for Disaster Preparedness in New York City. 

4. Senate Democrats blocked Republicans' $500 billion COVID-19 relief bill Oct. 21, reports CNBC. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are still in negotiations to try to reach a relief deal before the election. 

5. New York reported 2,026 new COVID-19 cases Oct. 21, according to a tweet from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This figure marks the first time New York has confirmed more than 2,000 cases in a single day since May, reports Bloomberg.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 8,338,467

Deaths: 222,220

Recovered: 3,323,354

Counts reflect data available as of 8:40 a.m. CDT Oct. 22.

More articles on public health:
Dry winter air will fuel COVID-19's spread, health experts say
5 risk factors for long-term COVID-19: Study
COVID-19 hospitalizations by state: Oct. 22


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