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Hospital ICUs running out of space due to COVID-19 surges across the country

hospital-icus-running-out-of-space-due-to-covid-19-surges-across-the-country

Myriam Borzee/iStockBy JULIA JACOBO and ARIELLE MITROPOULOS, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — Hospitals around the country are running out of beds in their intensive care units due to the uptick in COVID-19 cases.

The U.S. is averaging about 125,000 new cases of the virus a day, according to an ABC News analysis of the trends across 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., from using data from the COVID Tracking Project.

Wednesday marked the eighth consecutive day with over 100,000 coronavirus cases, and in the first eleven days of November, the country has recorded a staggering 1.2 million new coronavirus cases — more than the entire month of September.

In 46 states, along with Washington, D.C., and Guam, cases are high and rising. Thirty-seven states, plus Washington, D.C., have had an increased rate of positivity, and 43 states, along with Puerto Rico, have had an increase in hospitalizations.

Thirty states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, have also seen a rise in coronavirus-related deaths.

Thirteen states have hit a record number of new cases, and 17 states have hit a record number of current hospitalizations, according to data released on Wednesday. Three states have hit a record number of new deaths.

In Wisconsin, hospitals have reached a “tipping point,” so much so that they won’t be able to save everyone who is sick, state health officials warned this week, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Hospitals in parts of Indiana are also being flooded with COVID-19 patients. About half of the patients at Elkhart General Hospital in Elkhart, Indiana, are being treated for the virus, according to ABC South Bend, Indiana, affiliate WBND. Medical professionals are concerned about the availability of ventilators, beds, IV pumps and more, the local station reported.

The Minnesota Department of Health is estimating that ICUs in the Twin Cities metro area are at 97% capacity, ABC Saint Paul, Minnesota, affiliate KSTP reported.

Hospitals in the area normally operate at 80% to 85% capacity, occasionally close to 90% capacity during flu season, Helen Strike, president of Allina Health’s Regina and River Falls hospitals, told KSTP. Now, hospital capacity in the state is at “some of its highest levels ever,” Strike said.

The Mississippi Department of Health announced Wednesday that hospitalizations are nearly at the same level as they were when the pandemic started.

There are “zero” ICU beds in Jackson and “very few” elsewhere, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs tweeted on Thursday.

Hospitalizations in Alabama have also surged, so much so that even if Pfizer’s initial vaccine — which has shown 90% effectiveness — were to be approved, it likely wouldn’t stop the wave of cases in the state, Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, said on Wednesday, according to Al.com.

The state of Georgia is short on intensive care nurses as the threat of the virus increases with the approach of winter, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. ICU nurses fear contracting COVID-19 as well as making mistakes due to high workloads, they told the local newspaper.

Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota are included in the list of states with increased rates of positivity, hospitalizations and deaths, according to the ABC News analysis.

Mississippi is included in the list of states with a daily increase in deaths, while Alabama and Georgia are included in the list of states with increased hospitalizations and deaths.

ABC News’ Brian Hartman contributed to this report.

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