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Covid cases continue to climb in almost every state, as U.S. braces for possible ‘third peak’

Texas, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands stand alone in recorded decreases in Covid-19 cases over the last two weeks, as the country braces for a possible “third peak” of the disease.

Although the Lone Star State reported a “slight decrease” in cases over a 14-day period that ended Saturday, its news was better than most: 38 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam are all seeing increases in cases over the past 14 days, and nine states have plateaued, according to NBC News tallies. Rhode Island, which like Texas has also seen a net decrease, does not report data over the weekend, and Missouri is not currently reporting data due to a technology issue.

In Vermont and New Mexico, cases have spiked, as both battle around a 117% spike in cases over the past two weeks.

“We are really struggling,” Dr. Todd Vento, director of the Telehealth Infectious Disease Program of Utah-based Intermountain Health, told NBC”s “TODAY” show. “People are doing heroic work, but they are really getting to the point where it’s going to be literally unsustainable.”

On Saturday, thousands of people, many without masks, attended a Trump rally in Janesville, Wisconsin, as health officials urge residents not to gather with anyone outside of their immediate families. The state, which does not release case counts over the weekend, saw a record 3,861 new cases on Friday, according to the state’s health department.

In North Dakota, a whopping 4% of the state has contracted Covid-19 since March, most of those cases coming within the last few weeks.

North and South Dakota lead the United States in weekly virus cases per capita, according to an NBC News tally, and ICUs are filling up across the state. According to the most recent data released by the North Dakota Department of Health, there are 16 ICU open beds in the state, just one in the capital city of Bismarck. The state, which does not have a mask mandate, only recommends that its residents cover their faces.

“You know, from my perspective, the mask mandate, it’s gonna be hard to enforce,” Kirby Kruger, the North Dakota director of Disease Control, said. “I think there’s a segment of the population that doesn’t want to do this…it’s not something that they feel that the government should be forcing on them.”

Gov. Doug Burgum has continued to stress individual responsibility as the state sees cases rise. “I think it’s important to the future of our state that we do understand there is something that is more powerful than an executive order — infinitely more powerful than a mandate — and these are the beliefs that individuals hold in their hearts,” he said in a press conference.

Burgum said he was “amazed” people were still debating the mask mandate because “there is no other way to get someone to wear a mask other than for that person to choose to do that.”

Texas, where illness is slightly declining, has seen more than 860,000 cases and almost 17,500

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Maryland Coronavirus Cases Climb By Nearly 800 In One Day

MARYLAND — Nearly 800 confirmed cases of the coronavirus were added to the count in Maryland in the past day, state health officials reported Saturday. On Oct. 1, there were more than 125,000 cases; as of Saturday, Oct. 17, there were more than 135,000.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Friday that fans would again be allowed at sporting events in the state, including NFL games.

Both M&T Bank Stadium and FedEx Field may host crowds of up to 10 percent capacity.

“With our key health metrics low and stable, we are taking steps to allow more spectators,” Hogan said in a statement Friday. He said the positivity rate was stable, “cases per 100K have declined, and zero counties are in the federal government’s ‘red zone.'”

The positivity rate is at 3.15 percent on a seven-day rolling average, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

In the past two weeks, hospitalizations have risen by about 100; there were 323 people hospitalized with the virus as of Saturday, Oct. 3, and officials said there were 422 Saturday, Oct. 17.

Here is the data about the coronavirus in Maryland from the state health department as of Saturday, Oct. 17:

Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.
Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.
Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.
Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.
Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.
Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.
Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.
Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.

This article originally appeared on the Baltimore Patch

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Southwest Virginia Coronavirus Hospitalizations Climb Past NoVA

VIRGINIA — Southwest Virginia has surpassed population centers in Northern Virginia and the Tidewater area in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Statewide, cumulative hospitalizations stood at 11,831 as of Saturday, while current patient numbers totaled 993, according to the Virginia Department of Health. That includes 218 hospitalizations in the state’s southwest region, compared to 216 in the northern region and 187 in the eastern region. The central region led the state with 238 hospitalizations on Saturday and the northwest region had the fewest hospitalizations at 134.

The seven-day moving average of hospitalizations in the southwest region has grown from 161.7 a month ago on Sept. 17 to an average of 204.6 hospitalizations on Saturday. In Northern Virginia, the seven-day moving average of hospitalizations has dropped from 237.7 on Sept. 17 to 221.7 on Oct. 17.

Southwest Virginia also has seen a growing number of positive coronavirus cases since July 1. The region was reporting a seven-day moving average of 79.6 positive cases on July 1 compared to an average of 292.4 on Oct. 17.

The VDH reported 1,114 additional coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the cumulative total to 165,238 cases. Saturday’s new cases included 348 in the southwest region, 273 in the central region, 216 in the northern region, 152 in the eastern region, and 125 in the northwest region.

Health officials had viewed the rise in cases in southwest Virginia since August as predominantly student-related, with students at Virginia Tech, Radford University and other colleges returning to school.

But an increase in hospitalizations in southwest Virginia may indicate the disease is spreading to older populations in the region.

At a news conference last month, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said the state needs to keep an eye on the southwest region due to its high positivity rate. “Since Southwest Virginia has fewer people and fewer hospitals with fewer ICU beds and capabilities, this continues to be concerning to us,” the governor said at the time.

The latest statewide seven-day average is 4.9 percent on Oct. 13, with the southwest region still far above the rest of the state at a 7.2 percent average. The rest of the state is in the 4-percent range: central region at 4.7 percent, eastern region at 4.5 percent, northwest region at 4.3 percent and northern region at 4.1 percent.

According to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, there are 100 COVID-19 patients on ventilators and 219 in the intensive care units. Ventilator use among all hospital patients is at 23 percent of capacity as of Friday, while ICU occupancy stands at 82 percent. No hospitals are reporting difficulty obtaining personal protective equipment or other medical supplies in the next 72 hours.

As for the positive rate of PCR tests, the latest statewide seven-day average is 4.9 percent on Oct. 13. Regions in the 4-percent range are the central region (4.7 percent), eastern region (4.5 percent), northwest region (4.3 percent) and northern region (4.1 percent). The southwest region’s average is 7.2 percent.

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