Meanwhile, deaths nationally have lagged behind the worst increase in last winter as the country has experienced an average of 1,817 Covid-19 deaths per day in the past week, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. The peak daily average was 3,402 a year ago on January 13, 2021.
In Washington state, hospitals will temporarily suspend non-emergency procedures “so that as much capacity and staffing can be dedicated to emerging needs — the people who need it now,” Governor Jay Inslee said Thursday.
In Wisconsin, National Guard members will be trained as certified nursing assistants to support hospitals and nursing homes, Governor Tony Evers said.
“We estimate that the first round of staffing and aid roll-out will allow skilled nursing facilities to open 200 or more beds by the end of February,” Evers said on Thursday as the state announced a record number of confirmed cases.
“Our caregivers are beyond exhausted. We just don’t have enough staff to care for all those who are sick,” said Lisa Greenwood, the assistant dean of nursing at Madison College, which trains Guard members.
Schools are also feeling the pressure
Before New Years, states such as Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York called on Guards to assist with medical and non-medical duties.
More than 2,000 Guard members have been deployed in Ohio as the number of cases continues to rise. With hospital admissions at an all-time high, officials are urging residents to protect themselves from infection.
“In this Omicron wave, you have to remember that no one is untouchable,” said health department director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Thursday, asked people to go to hospital only in the event of a real emergency, as staff shortages remain critical.
Biden last month announced plans to mobilize an additional 1,000 military medical personnel to help overburdened hospitals.
Montgomery County Public Schools, the largest school district in Maryland, has filed a formal request with the National Guard to address the shortage of school bus drivers, district spokesman Chris Cram told CNN on Thursday. Earlier this week, nearly 100 of the district’s school bus routes were affected by the driver shortage, but that number has now fallen to 29 routes as of Thursday, Cram said.
There are still test problems
While health experts are hopeful that the rise will slow down soon, the sheer number of infections across the country persist. Confirmed positive cases of Covid-19 have risen to a daily average of 771,580 in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than three times higher than last winter’s peak average.
In Nevada, state officials have ordered more than half a million home antigen testing kits that will be made available for free and distributed by the end of the month through “community partners” to be named later, Governor Steve. Sisolak announced this on Thursday.
“This will ensure that, as we live with Covid, the supply chain does not dictate access for Nevadans,” Sisolak said.
However, not all confirmed cases through rapid testing are tracked and recorded, meaning the number of people living with Covid-19 could be much higher.
The Omicron variant has become so widespread in Oregon that it is surpassing health leaders’ ability to keep track of how many people are infected, they said.
“We know that our daily case counts are missing a lot of home test results, and in light of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, the case data is also missing a lot of undiagnosed cases,” Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, said in a briefing. Thursday.
“To be fully transparent, we are probably approaching the maximum capacity our test system has to identify cases.”
Rather than interviewing people for contact tracing, health teams will focus on tracking outbreaks in high-risk environments, asking people with positive test results to voluntarily report them to the state through a website and hotline, Allen said.
“Hospitalizations and deaths will continue to be our most reliable and significant measure,” Allen said.
Katherine Dillinger, Jason Hanna, Joe Sutton, Andy Rose, Hannah Sarisohn, Raja Razek, Elizabeth Stuart and Laura Studley of CNN contributed to this report.