Hospitalizations in U.S. Hit Highest Level Since Mid-August

The number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 in the U.S. topped 48,000 on Monday, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project, continuing a monthslong increase and hitting the highest point since mid-August as people headed to the polls to vote in the presidential contest.

The rise comes as new confirmed infections are rising across the nation, and public-health officials and epidemiologists worry that the coming holiday season will accelerate the new surge in cases.

In Ohio, hospitalizations once again hit a new high, topping 1,800 for Monday, rising by more than 100 from the previous day, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project. Similar to the U.S. as a whole, the state has seen hospitalizations climb since early October.

Mike Abrams, chief executive and president of the Ohio Hospital Association, said he expected the state’s increase in hospitalizations to continue and is worried about the Thanksgiving holiday, when families will gather around tables across the nation.

“I do think that we aren’t finished setting records on hospitalizations or positives in Ohio,” Mr. Abrams said. He said Tuesday that 68% of the state’s hospital beds are full and 6.8% of those beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients. Of the state’s 4,580 intensive-care unit beds, 10.3% are being used by Covid-19 patients, Mr. Abrams said.

The Ohio Department of Health reported 4,229 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear cautioned that hospitalizations in the state are climbing more quickly.

“We are seeing in certain areas hospital systems becoming taxed,” the Democrat said Tuesday. “If we cannot control the increase, then it is a real possibility that we could face some real concerns with capacity.” Kentucky had 988 hospitalizations for Nov. 2, according to the Covid Tracking Project, the most the project had on record for the state.

For the U.S. overall, Monday’s hospitalization count is the highest since Aug. 11, according to Covid Tracking Project data. The U.S. hit a pandemic high of 59,940 hospitalizations on April 15, that data showed, when New York was bearing the brunt of a surge in coronavirus cases. After hitting a recent low of 28,608 hospitalizations Sept. 20, hospitalizations started to steadily increase around the beginning of October.

The latest increases are more widespread geographically and reaching more remote regions of the nation, which is expected to further strain resources needed for disaster response, said experts in health-care emergency planning. At least a dozen states, including Ohio, saw the numbers of Covid-19 patients in hospitals set a new high Monday, Covid Tracking Project data show.

Hospital stays from the virus have gotten shorter in the midst of advances in Covid-19 treatment, helping to ease the pressure on hospital capacity, but doctors and health-care disaster experts said those improvements aren’t enough to be able to combat the increase in hospitalizations.

Texas reported the most hospitalizations in the country Monday, with more than 5,000, followed by Illinois and California, which both had more than 3,000, and Florida, which had more than 2,000, according to

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New Northwestern Medicine location provides patients local access to highest level of thoracic surgery care

Patients in Chicago’s northwest suburbs now have local access to the surgery team that performs state-of-the-art minimally invasive and robotic chest surgery, treatment for cancers of lung and esophagus, and lung transplantation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Ankit Bharat, who performed the United States’ first double lung transplant on a patient with COVID-19, began to see patients in McHenry on Oct. 20.



The new office location at Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital will be open to patients who have diseases of the chest, including the airways, lungs, esophagus, diaphragm and chest wall. Bharat and his surgical partners will receive referrals from medical oncologists, pulmonologists and other physicians who care for patients in the McHenry County area.

“Our goal is to provide unparalleled care of the highest quality to our patients, close to home,” Bharat said. “We are committed to providing the entire gamut of treatments for both simple and complex problems in the chest.”

“Our patients can have appointments and follow-up care in McHenry, and if they need specialized surgeries we perform them in Chicago. This approach provides patients the best of both worlds — convenience for appointments and access to highly advanced surgeries when they’re needed.”

Nick Rave, president of Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital, said patients will benefit from the relationships between the physicians and hospital teams.

“Our patients want the peace of mind that they’re doing all they can to address their health issues,” Rave said. “By bringing these experienced thoracic surgeons to McHenry, we’re making it easier for people who are already balancing family life, work and a health diagnosis.”


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COVID takes challenge of tracking infectious college students to new level

As the return of college students to campuses has fueled as many as 3,000 COVID-19 cases a day, keeping track of them is a logistical nightmare for local health departments and colleges.

Some students are putting down their home addresses instead of their college ones on their COVID testing forms — slowing the transfer of case data and hampering contact tracing across state and county lines.

The address issue has real consequences, as any delay in getting the case to the appropriate authorities allows the coronavirus to continue to spread unchecked. Making matters worse, college-age people already tend to be hard to trace because they are unlikely to answer a phone call from an unknown number.

“With that virus, you really need to be able to identify that case and their contacts in 72 hours,” said Indiana University’s assistant director for public health, Graham McKeen.

And if the students do go home once infected, where should their cases be counted? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted this issue in a recent study of an unnamed North Carolina university’s COVID outbreak, stating that the number of cases was likely an underestimate. “For example, some cases were reported to students’ home jurisdictions, some students did not identify themselves as students to the county health department, some students did not report to the student health clinic, and not all students were tested,” it said.

The White House coronavirus task force even addressed the problem in weekly memos sent to the governors of Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky and New Jersey. “Do not reassign cases that test positive in university settings to hometown as this lessens ability to track and control local spread,” it recommended late last month in the memos, made public by the Center for Public Integrity.

While the full scope of the address confusion is unclear, the health departments of California, Indiana, Iowa and Virginia all acknowledged the challenges that arise when college cases cross state and county lines.

The maze of calls needed to track such cases also lays bare a larger problem: the lack of an interconnected COVID tracking system. Colleges have been setting up their own contact tracing centers to supplement overstretched local and state health departments.

“It is very patchwork, and people operate very differently, and it also doesn’t translate during a pandemic,” said McKeen, whose own university has had more than 2,900 cases across its Indiana campuses. “It made it very clear the public health system in this country is horribly underfunded and understaffed.”

Colleges’ transient populations have forever bedeviled public health when it comes to reportable infectious diseases, such as measles and bacterial meningitis, Association of Public Health Laboratories spokesperson Michelle Forman said in an email to KHN. But the coronavirus infections spreading across the country’s universities, and the mass testing conducted to find them, are something else altogether.

“COVID is just a different scale,” she said.

Lisa Cox, a spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said the issue of

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Will County Returns To Warning Level

WILL COUNTY, IL — Five weeks after being dropped from the Illinois Department of Public Health’s list of state counties at the warning level, and four weeks after additional mitigations were dropped for Region 7, Will County again finds itself listed as one of Illinois’ “warning level” counties.

Will County Health Department Executive Director Sue Olenek said in a release the top priority right now is for Will County residents to follow all COVID-19 precautions, with the immediate goal being no return of additional restrictions

“We all know what happened the last time we went orange,” Olenek said in a release. “We ended up with restrictions, and I don’t think anyone wants to go back to that. We must remember to follow the three Ws: Wash (our hands frequently), Watch (our social distancing), and Wear (your masks properly over the nose and mouth). Also, avoid the 3 Cs: Closed spaces, close contacts, and crowded places. When we relent on these principles, we see a surge in positive cases!”

Counties appear on the IDPH Warning Level list when they have hit two of a variety of factors showing signs of increased Coronavirus activity. One is a rate of new COVID-19 cases that is over 50 per 100,000 residents. For Will County, the week of Oct. 4-10 showed 133 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents (the previous week’s level was 87). The second factor Will County hit was a substantial increase in the amount of COVID-19 deaths, a release from the health department states.

Will County had 13 deaths for the week of Oct. 4-10, after a very slow period of COVID-19 deaths in late September.

Other factors include positivity rate; Will County’s was 6.2 percent Oct 4-10 and 5.5 percent the week before, the warning level is 8 percent, hospital admissions with coronavirus-like illnesses (CLI), and emergency room visits with CLI.

When Patch spoke to Silver Cross Hospital on Tuesday the hospital said hospitalizations had doubled over the course of a week. The hospital also stressed the importance of washing your hands, wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.

Counties designated as “warning levels” are asked to implement measures for increased testing and contact tracing, a release states.

The county health department said it continues to be active in doing both. 40 contact tracers, with more planned to be hired, are now working remotely to contact and collect information from those who have tested positive, and then contact residents who may have been exposed by someone who tested positive.

WCHD asks that residents be cooperative and forthcoming with contact tracers, as the information you provide could save yours or someone else’s life. When you are called by a contact tracer, your caller ID should read “COVID CONTACT” with the phone number 312-777-1999.

The helath department also continues to offer walk-in testing at its mobile medical unit at a variety of locations.

This article originally appeared on the New Lenox Patch

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