Cases of COVID-19 have begun to decline nationwide, and some health experts say the surge driven by the Delta variant seems to have peaked. But some states are bucking the national trend and are dealing with large increases in new cases and hospitalizations. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.
According to the New York Times' COVID data tracker, Alaska has the nation's highest number of cases per 100,000 residents, and new cases are up 54% in the last 14 days. "Continually high numbers of COVID-19 patients are straining health care facilities around the state," reported the Anchorage Daily News on Monday. "Hospitals in Anchorage, already understaffed, say the crush of extremely ill people with the virus is maxing out emergency rooms and ICUs at times."
"COVID-19 is soaring out of control in North Dakota," a columnist for the Grand Forks Herald wrote on Saturday. Data shows new cases in the state are up 21% in the last 14 days, while hospitalizations are up 19%. At the same time, the state has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the nation: only 44% of its residents are fully vaccinated, which the local columnist blamed for state hospitals being "overwhelmed" and "basically out of beds."
According to the Times data, Wisconsin has seen new cases surge 69% in the last two weeks, the highest increase in the nation. "The rise in severely ill COVID patients is stressing hospitals, particularly in northern and western parts of the state," PBS Wisconsin reported last week. Dr. Ryan Westergaard, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases, said that COVID cases were expected to peak nationwide in late September, but a peak for Wisconsin was not yet apparent.
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Cases in Maine are up 34% in the last two weeks, and hospitalizations rose 22%. On Monday, the Portland Press-Herald reported that COVID patients in state hospitals remained near record levels. About two-thirds to three-fourths of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated; that number rises to 90% in intensive care units, the Sun-Journal says.
Case counts in the state hit all-time pandemic records last week, VTDigger reported. Unvaccinated Vermont residents were about 4.4 times more likely than vaccinated people to get COVID, an increase over the 3.5 ratio reported in August.
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.