More states are enabling crisis management standards, and at least two have expanded access to COVID-19 vaccine booster doses as the Delta Wave continues to float across the country.
While cases and hospital admissions have subsided in earlier southeastern hotspots like Florida and Alabama, the wave has headed north and west. At the national level, new cases of COVID-19 have stabilized at high levels of more than 70,000 a day, compared to September highs of over 160,000.
North Dakota, Colorado, Minnesota, Alaska, and Vermont currently have the five highest case numbers per 100,000 population Tracking by the New York Times. New Mexico, ranked seventh in the highest number of daily cases, is seeing an increase in hospital admissions and more facilities are moving to emergency care standards.
Effective Thursday, Albuquerque’s two largest health systems – the University of New Mexico Health System and Presbyterian Health Services – announced that they were Activate crisis standards.
“Currently at UNM we are working at around 140% of our normal operating capacity today and I’ve had moments when we approached 150%. This is truly an unsustainable and unprecedented level of activity that we have achieved.” “said Dr. Michael Richards, senior vice president of clinical affairs for the UNM Health System, at a news conference Thursday.
Corresponding Reporting by ABC News“Several” other health systems in the country are also considering implementing crisis standards.
Crises and boosters
“Our hospital teams are really overwhelmed and we see a lot more patients than they thought possible,” said Dr. David Scrase, acting cabinet secretary for the state’s Department of Health, during Wednesday ABC News news conference. “That means if anyone in the audience at this press conference is having a heart attack, there’s a good chance we don’t have an ICU bed for that person here in New Mexico.”
Earlier this week, Colorado also reactivated its crisis standards of care amid the spike in COVID-19 cases. To try to turn the tide, Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced Thursday that the state would open booster cans of COVID-19 to all adults. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only recommend boosters for certain groups.
“We want to make sure that Coloradans have all the tools they need to protect themselves from this deadly virus and reduce the stress on our hospitals and healthcare workers. Every Coloradan is now entitled to the booster so that they can protect themselves and their families, ”said Governor Polis in a statement. “I was relieved to get the booster two weeks ago and I strongly encourage you to get it too.”
And Polis is not alone. California also offers more wiggle room for adults to get booster shots, whether or not they neatly fall into the CDC-approved groups. In a press conference on Wednesday, California Secretary of State for Health and Human Services, Dr. Mark Ghaly, found evidence of deteriorating initial dose protection amid high transmission rates in various parts of the country. “If you’re interested in getting a booster, get one,” he said.
On Tuesday, Pfizer and BioNTech filed an application with the Food and Drug Administration for a Booster doses of their vaccine are available nationwide to those aged 18 and over. The FDA is expected to approve the application, but the timing is not yet clear.
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