FARGO, N.D. — An executive at the largest health care system in North Dakota says its hospitals in Fargo could use up to 300 additional nurses to handle COVID-19 cases and is bumping up incentives to fill the void.
“We really are in crisis,” said Dr. Doug Griffin, Sanford Health vice president and medical officer in Fargo, which serves a metropolitan area of about 250,000 people in North Dakota and Minnesota.
Besides nurses, the system is short-staffed in patient services, respiratory therapy and even “people who draw blood,” Griffin said.
Montana reported another 1,249 confirmed cases on Tuesday, with 362 people hospitalized. At least 1,847 residents have died of COVID-19 in the past 18 months, with cases steadily rising since mid-July. The health department reported 47 deaths in the first two weeks of September.
PHOENIX — Arizona reported 2,609 coronavirus cases and 117 deaths on Tuesday, the most deaths in a single day since February.
During the past two weeks, the number of hospitalizations remained above 2,000, with 2,090 COVID-19 patients occupying hospital beds on Monday.
MISSION, Kan. — The number of COVID-19 deaths and cases in the U.S. have returned to levels reached last winter, potentially bolstering President Joe Biden’s argument for sweeping new vaccination requirements.
The U.S. is averaging more than 1,800 COVID-19 deaths and 170,000 new cases per day. That’s still well below the peak of about 3,400 deaths and 250,000 cases per day in January. But it’s frustrating health care leaders, nine months into the nation’s vaccination drive, who are watching hospitals fill up with unvaccinated patients.
The cases, driven by the delta variant and resistance among some Americans to get vaccinated, are concentrated mostly in the South.
While hot spots such as Florida and Louisiana are improving, infection rates are soaring in Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee, fueled by children back in school, loose mask requirements and low vaccination rates.
“Now in Kentucky, one-third of new cases are under age 18,” says Dr. Ryan Stanton, an emergency room physician in Lexington. He says some children brought it home from summer camp and spread it to the rest of the family, and “between day care and schools and school activities, and friends getting together, there are just so many exposures.”
South Africa has recorded 2,640 new infections and 125 deaths in the last 24 hours. The nation accounts for more than 35% of coronavirus infections in Africa, with 2.8 million confirmed cases and 85,002 confirmed deaths.
The elections may see an erosion of support for the ruling party, the African National Congress, which failed to register candidates in about 90 municipalities across the country before the deadline. However, the electoral commission threw the ANC a lifeline by reopening registration for candidates to be councilors in cities across the nation.
More than 7 million people, or 12.5% of the South African population, have been fully vaccinated with either the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, according to Johns Hopkins University. Vaccines are offered to all adults 18 years and older as officials seek to vaccinate at least 40 million of the 60 million population by the end of the year.
Faisal Shuaib didn’t say when the measure takes effect or whether it has started in mosques. His meeting on Tuesday with Christian leaders across the country is the latest measure Nigeria has introduced to drive full vaccination rates to at least 1% of its population of more than 200 million people.
Africa’s most populous country has only vaccinated 5.7 million people, according to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency. Only 1.7 million have received their second shot. The average daily cases has decreased to about 550 in the last two weeks.
GENEVA — The World Health Organization and partners say they hope to provide Africa with about 30% of the COVID-19 vaccines they need by February, half of the 60% goal African leaders had aimed for by the end of this year.
He again called for pharmaceutical companies to prioritize the U.N. backed initiative known as COVAX to share vaccines globally. Currently, fewer than 4% of people in Africa have been fully immunized. Most of the 5.7 billion doses administered have gone to about 10 countries.
Most vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna have gone to wealthy countries, many of whom are considering plans to use booster shots. Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of vaccines alliance Gavi, says the COVAX program expects to have 1.4 billion doses ready for delivery by the end of this year, about one quarter fewer than its original goal.
The Kremlin said Tuesday that Putin tested negative for the coronavirus. Putin, who is fully vaccinated with Russia’s Sputnik V, held several public engagements indoors Monday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov say Putin is “absolutely healthy” but came in contact with someone who contracted the coronavirus. Peskov didn’t say when Putin began self-isolating, when he tested negative, how long he would remain in self-isolation or who among the president’s contacts was infected.
On Monday, Putin met with Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose hand he shook. Assad tested positive for the coronavirus in March and later recovered; it’s not clear if he is vaccinated. Putin also shook hands with Russian Paralympians and pinned medals on them and attended military exercises alongside other officials.
Russia’s daily coronavirus cases have fallen in the past month from 20,000 to about 17,000. However, few virus restrictions are currently in place in Russia.
Russia’s state coronavirus task force has reported a total of 7.1 million confirmed cases and 194,249 confirmed deaths. Health experts have called into question how Russia is tallying cases and deaths.
Berlin’s top health official says authorities will give restaurants, bars, sports venues, zoos, gambling halls and other recreational venues the option of allowing in only people who have a vaccine or recovery certificate, known as the ‘2G’ rule in Germany. Alternately, they also can continue to apply the 3G rule of letting in people with negative test results.
“There are still a number of young people aged 20-34 who have not yet been vaccinated, and the Danish Health and Medicines Authority continues its efforts to increase vaccination support in this age group as well,” said Niels Sandoe of the National Board of Health.
He called it “incredibly positive” that 386 people were vaccinated in supermarkets last Saturday, saying it “shows that there are still citizens who want to be vaccinated when they receive a local offer.”
CULLMAN, Ala. — As hundreds of mostly unvaccinated COVID-19 patients filled Alabama intensive care units, hospital staff in north Alabama contacted 43 hospitals in three states to find a specialty cardiac ICU bed for Ray Martin DeMonia, his family writes in his obituary.
The resident of Cullman, Alabama, was finally transferred to Meridian, Mississippi, about 170 miles (274 kilometers) away. The 73-year-old antiques dealer died Sept. 1 because of the cardiac event he suffered.
“In honor of Ray, please get vaccinated if you have not, in an effort to free up resources for non-COVID related emergencies,” his obituary reads. After describing the search for an ICU bed for DeMonia, the obituary adds: “He would not want any other family to go through what his did.”
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