3 states where hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients

New COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are falling nationwide, but hospitals in some states are still struggling to treat high volumes of virus patients.

Below is a snapshot of the situation in three states with the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rates over the last two weeks, as of Oct. 11. Data is from HHS and tracked by The New York Times.

North Dakota
Hospitalizations per 100,000 people: 35

North Dakota has seen a 17 percent jump in hospitalizations in the last two weeks, according to the Times. State data shows 196 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Oct. 9, including 24 people who were in intensive care.

Amid the flood of COVID-19 patients, Gov. Doug Burgum and local hospital leaders urged residents to get vaccinated and avoid risky activities that could further burden hospitals, reported the Times.

"The pressure on hospitals and clinics in both our urban and rural areas is reaching critical levels, and we all need to do our part to avoid hospitalization and prevent further strain on these facilities and their staff as we work through this incredibly challenging time," Mr. Burgum said.

Hospitalizations per 100,000 people: 19

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Michigan have increased 21 percent in the last 14 days, according to the Times. A total of 1,811 people with confirmed COVID-19 infections were hospitalized as of Oct. 8, state data shows. Two hundred fifty patients were on ventilators, and 477 were in intensive care. 

Rob Davidson, MD, an emergency room physician in rural Western Michigan, said his ER is still overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

"I had just worked a couple of shifts in a row where I had six, seven people sitting in the emergency department, waiting for beds at other hospitals that didn't exist," Dr. Davidson told CNN Oct. 9. Some ambulances "were six, seven hours away from being able to bring them to those places," he added.

Hospitalizations per 100,000 people: 18

In Minnesota, COVID-19 hospitalizations have jumped 15 percent in the last two weeks, according to the Times. As of Oct. 8, 871 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, and 236 required intensive care — the highest figure reported in 2021, according to MPR News.

Last week, hospital leaders and health officials warned of the surge's toll on the state's healthcare system.

"Across the state, we have more hospitals reporting that they have zero available adult medical surgical beds and zero adult ICU beds available during this latest surge," Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Oct. 7, according to a separate MPR News report. "These are numbers we didn't see even in the worst of last fall's surge."

To view a full list of hospitalization rates by state, click here.

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