Southwest states face COVID-19 surge: 6 things to know

Southwest states — Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah — are facing surges in both COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, NPR reported Nov. 11.  

Six things to know:

1. The recent national improvement in COVID-19 numbers, driven in part by a large decline in cases in the South, failed to capture growing problems in other regions.

3. The Midwest is seeing 37 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people as of Nov. 12, according to The New York Times. The West is reporting an average of 26 cases per 100,000 people, the Northeast is seeing 24 cases per 100,000 and the South is recording 11 cases per 100,000 people.

3. Colorado cases, hospitalizations and deaths have all been rising. Modeling from the state's epidemiologist shows that those hospitalizations could exceed hospital capacity in December, according to NPR. All adults across the state are now eligible for booster doses of the vaccine, and, on Nov. 9, the state reactivated crisis standards of care for healthcare staffing.  

4. Multiple hospitals in New Mexico have activated crisis standards of care plans, with hospitalizations rising 19 percent over the last two weeks, according to the Times. Presbyterian Healthcare Services and University of New Mexico Health both activated crisis standards of care Nov. 11 for their Albuquerque metro hospitals, which are facing challenges managing patient needs amid the surge. New Mexico in October announced the addition of a public health order permitting hospitals to engage crisis standards of care.  

5. Arizona is seeing both rising cases and hospitalizations. The state is recording a 37 percent increase in COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days, with 47 cases reported per 100,000 residents as of Nov. 12, according to the Times. The state is averaging 1,998 daily COVID-19 hospitalizations, with admissions up 15 percent over the last two weeks. 

6. Despite declining case trends in Utah, the state has seen hospitalizations rise 17 percent over the last two weeks, according to the Times.  

"Now we are in this really high plateau of a surge where we have a lot of people with COVID-19 in our state, a lot of people with COVID-19 in our hospital and fewer resources to be able to take care of them," Kencee Graves, MD, associate professor with the division of general internal medicine and the department of internal medicine at Salt Lake City-based University of Utah Hospital, told NPR. She said the hospital had to shut down their surge intensive care unit because there wasn't adequate staffing.


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