US coronavirus: “There isn’t a place for these our bodies,” says the Alabama well being official because the variety of Covid-19 deaths rises
In 14 states, Covid-19 deaths rose more than 50% in the past week, while another 28 states saw a rise of at least 10%, according to data from Johns Hopkins University on Friday.
In Alabama, one of the hardest hit states of the recent surge, total hospital admissions continue to rise, driving health officials to use mobile trailers to house bodies as deaths from Covid-19 skyrocket, the state health official said Dr. Scott Harris on Friday.
The state activated two of its four refrigerated trailers in Mobile and Baldwin counties for the first time since the pandemic began this week, Harris said.
“These are typically held in the event of a mass accident, for example when a large number of corpses appear at the same time. This is actually a situation that has now happened in Alabama hospitals, “Harris said.
“We have enough people dying … that there is no place to lay these bodies,” he added. “We are really in a crisis situation. … I don’t know how much longer we can do that.”
Alabama reported 50 Covid-19-related deaths Thursday and had “double-digit deaths” in the past two to three weeks, Harris said.
At least 5,571 children from Alabama tested positive for Covid-19 last week, Harris said on Friday, noting officials are unsure of where the children contracted the virus. The state currently has a 23% Covid-19 positivity rate, one of the highest in the nation, Harris said.
Alabama has seen an increase in pediatric cases since last year, Harris said. Of the 2,879 people hospitalized with Covid-19 on Thursday, 45 were children, at least five of whom were ventilators, Harris said.
“A lot of schools are now struggling to keep the doors open and many are going virtual,” he said.
All 50 states have high rates of Covid-19 transmission on Friday as millions of children who cannot be vaccinated return to school, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC identifies virus transmission as high when the total number of new cases per 100,000 people in a 7 day period is 100 cases or more. With around 32% of people between the ages of 12 and 17 being fully vaccinated, vaccinating in teenagers has been difficult, but there are some highlights. More than 86% of 12 to 17-year-olds who received a first dose would later complete their vaccinations, which are necessary for optimal protection against the Delta variant, according to a CDC study.
The study emphasizes the importance of vaccinating eligible children and adolescents after they return to school.
“Improving vaccination coverage and implementing Covid-19 prevention strategies are critical to reducing Covid-19-related morbidity and mortality among adolescents and enabling safer reopening of schools for personal learning,” researchers wrote in the study.
Covid-19 hits school staff and students
Back to school season was devastating for some states and counties, where a shocking number of high school students have been infected with the virus. Preventive measures such as quarantine take place nationwide.
In Mississippi, 28,990 students were quarantined between August 16 and 20 after possible exposure to Covid-19, compared with the 20,334 students quarantined between August 9 and 13, according to the Department of Health.
However, it is unclear how many of them are new quarantines or students who had to remain in quarantine since the previous week. Schools report numbers, not the names of people being quarantined, according to the Ministry of Health.
A total of 11,766 students and 2,383 employees have tested positive for Covid-19 in Mississippi schools since school started in early August.
In California, Los Angeles Unified Schools reported 2,761 active Covid-19 cases among students and staff as of Friday, according to the district’s dashboard. The district said that 3,000 students and 500 employees were to be isolated at home on Tuesday, while 3,500 students and 500 employees were to be quarantined at home.
The country’s second largest district has adopted some of the strongest mitigation measures in its 1,000+ schools. But officials remain vigilant about the spread.
“We anticipate an upward trend in outbreaks as our schools reopened, but we continue to work hard to prevent, investigate, and manage them,” said Barbara Ferrer, LA County’s director of public health, during a weekly briefing Thursday .
Healthcare resources are scarce for non-Covid-19 patients
As the increase in Covid-19 cases continues, medical care for other health needs will be restricted.
Three OhioHealth hospitals decided to temporarily suspend elective surgeries that require an overnight stay due to an influx of Covid-19 hospital admissions, spokesman Colin Yoder told CNN on Friday in a statement. The move with effect from Monday frees up hospital capacity and staff, he said.
“Because of the fluid nature of this fourth surge, we will be continuously monitoring capacity and pausing or resuming elective one-night surgeries as needed,” Yoder said.
The difficulties of maintaining a high level of health are not limited to personnel issues. There was also a shortage of monoclonal antibodies, which are used to treat hospitalized Covid-19 patients as well as those with severe chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Treatment Actemra was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in June. The drug reduces inflammation, which can make patients sicker. It’s used regularly in rheumatoid arthritis patients, but Genentech, the company that makes Actemra, doesn’t have enough for everyone who needs it.
Last week, the company announced that demand for the drug had increased more than 400% above pre-Covid-19 levels in two weeks. Since last Monday, stocks of several doses of the drug have been sold out in the United States.
On Thursday, Genentech announced to its customers that it is “working as urgently as possible to accelerate supplies and increase production capacity and supply where possible.”
The company said the drug should be available for sale starting Monday, but “given the continued scarcity of supplies, Genentech expects additional intermittent periods of stockouts in the coming months if the pandemic continues at its current rate.”
CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Virginia Langmaid, Mallory Simon, Jen Christensen, Jennifer Henderson and Alta Spells contributed to this report.