Coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise across the U.S. as a growing list of states say they are seeing record numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
On Thursday, officials recorded 161,331 cases of COVID-19 with a seven-day rolling average of 155,746, which is a 132 percent increase from the 66,999 average reported four weeks ago.
It also is the highest figure seen since January 28, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
Deaths are also on the rise with 1,296 fatalities recorded and a seven-day rolling average of 1,114 – the sixth day in a row the average has surpassed four figures.
This marks a 285 percent increase from the average of 289 reported 28 days ago prior and the highest number recorded since March 20, the analysis found.
Additionally, there are 101,433 Americans hospitalized with COVID-19, the second-day this number has reached six figures, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Kentucky and Texas became the latest states to report the highest number of patients ever seen as the surge in cases overwhelms doctors and nurses.
Meanwhile, in Idaho, medical centers are so swamped that they have asked residents to volunteer to help keep the facilities open.
The U.S. recorded 161,331 new cases of COVID-19 with a seven-day rolling average of 155,746, which is a 132% increase from the 66,999 average reported four weeks ago
Deaths also rose with 1,296 fatalities recorded and a seven-day rolling average of 1,114, a 285% increase from the average of 289 reported 28 days ago prior
A total of 101,433 Americans are hospitalized with COVID-19 and at least eight states say they have broken records of patients occupying beds
On Wednesday, Texas reported more COVID-19 patients in its hospitals than at any other time since the pandemic began with a total of 14,255, according to HHS data.
That number is a 213 percent jump from the 4,544 patients hospitalized one month ago.
Almost 94 percent of ICU beds statewide are in use, including half of which are being used to treat COVID-19 patients.
Doctors at the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Jennie Sealy Hospital, in Galveston, told ABC News that two-thirds of patients in the ICU have COVID-19 and all but one is unvaccinated.
About 47 percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, which is below the national average of almost 52 percent, federal data show.
‘To have two-thirds of your ICU occupied by one disease is virtually unheard of…There are many patients that are not doing well,’ Dr Shawn Nishi, an associate professor of critical care medicine at UTMB told the network.
‘It’s very chaotic because these patients are very unpredictable. At one moment they look great and the next moment, they’re dying. It is a “hair on fire” time in the ICUs.’
She added that, unlike previous waves of the pandemic, many of the patients she treats are younger that she is.
‘You will see the nurses’ faces. They are the heart and soul of this institution, but a little bit of them is dying with every patient,’ Nishi told ABC News.
‘Half the COVID-19 patients right now are younger than I am…That’s never, ever happened in my career.’
Kentucky also hit a record-high number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients at 2,074, according to state health officials.
That’s a spike of 385 percent from the 427 hospitalized one month ago.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is sending ambulances to Kentucky to help hospitals that are struggling to transfer patients.
In Texas, a record-high 14,255 patients are hospitalized, a 213% jump from the 4,544 patients hospitalized one month ago
Kentucky also hit a record-high number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients at 2,074, a spike of 385% from the 427 hospitalized one month ago
‘In the case right now, the hospital is full of patients, whether it is Covid patients or other patients. Their capacity is reached,’ Steven Eubank, chief of Somerset-Polaski County EMs told WKYT.
‘We have to find other hospitals willing to accept these patients and that’s becoming more difficult because across the state the hospitals are full.’
He added that local ambulances will be able respond to local non-Covid-related emergencies once the FEMA vehicles arrive.
In Kentucky, about 48 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, and public health officials have blamed the lag in part for the state’s surge.
Democratic Gov Andy Beshear’s COVID-19 restrictions expired in June, and the GOP-controlled legislature has blocked him from issuing new mask requirements or capacity limits.
In Idaho, health officials say that their hospitals are so overwhelmed that they are calling on residents to serve as volunteers to help keep medical facilities operating.
‘There’s a wide variety of positions available, a wide variety of skill sets – we need positions in every part of the state,’ said Elke Shaw-Tulloch, administrator for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Division of Public Health, during a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
Currently, 447 Covid patients are hospitalized, up 41percent from the 137 patients hospitalized one month ago.
HHS data shows that almost 88 percent of all ICU beds in the state are in use with about half being occupied by COVD-19 patients.
‘We’re almost near the peak we were at in December for hospitalized patients, and we’re actually higher than we’ve ever been for the number of patients on ventilators,’ said David Jesspen, director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
‘Their level of capacity is so strained that we are talking about crisis standards of care — we’re dangerously close to that as this point in time.’
People with lapsed health care licenses can get temporary authorization to work under the state’s COVID-19 response plan, and people without medical backgrounds can help with hospital housekeeping, data entry or contact tracing, Shaw-Tulloch said, by signing up on a new website, VolunteerIdaho.com.
State leaders have made a similar plea for help to the U.S. government, asking for FEMA and other states to deploy health care workers to Idaho.
The capacity crunch is affecting urban and rural communities alike.
Kelly McGrath, chief medical officer for Clearwater Valley Health in Orofino and St Mary’s Health in Cottonwood, told The Lewiston Tribune that both small, rural hospitals are stretched thin.
When patients at the 23-bed Orofino hospital recently needed to be transferred to a larger hospital, McGrath said, staffers called more than a dozen hospitals in Idaho, Montana and Washington before finally locating a place in southern Idaho.