WEST ALLIS, Wis. — A hospital in Idaho is 99 percent full and warning that it may have to transfer coronavirus patients to hospitals in Seattle and Portland, Ore. Medical centers in Kansas City, Mo., turned away ambulances on a recent day because they had no room for more patients. And in West Allis, just outside Milwaukee, an emergency field hospital erected on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair admitted its first virus patient this week.
More than 41,000 people are currently hospitalized with the coronavirus in the United States, a 40 percent rise in the past month, and cooler weather that pushes more people indoors is threatening to expand the outbreak still more. At least 14 states saw more people hospitalized for the virus on a day in the past week than on any other day in the pandemic, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Seven more states are nearing their peaks.
The nation has seen more people hospitalized at earlier points — during an onslaught of cases in New York City in April and in the Sun Belt in July — but the sharply rising numbers now are deeply worrisome, in part, because they are testing the limits of smaller hospital systems.
Patients are now spread more broadly across the country, with troubling hot spots from North Dakota to Kentucky. More people than ever are falling critically ill in rural areas, particularly in the Midwest and the Mountain West, where they must rely on hospitals that may have only a handful of beds. And experts worry that the growing numbers in need of hospital care will only get worse if cases continue to mount.
“I don’t really see any signs that things are slowing down and that concerns me a lot,” Caitlin M. Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, said. “It has to be our starting premise that it’s not going to slow down unless we force it to slow down.”
Even as hospitalizations and known cases of the virus have grown, daily deaths across the country have remained fairly steady at around 760 in recent days. But some experts fear that the rate of deaths is beginning to rise again. Upticks in deaths usually lag behind rises in cases and hospitalizations because of the time it takes for the virus to progress.
For families around the country, the mounting hospitalizations were frightening — and personal. Among the thousands of patients, there was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who had trouble catching her breath in Missouri, grandparents being treated in separate hospitals in Utah and a beloved uncle whose niece said he had been on a ventilator for five weeks in Wisconsin.
Amy Stadler, the niece, sat in a black minivan outside of the Milwaukee Brewers’ stadium this week as she waited for a nurse to swab her nose. She said relatives had collected messages for her uncle — who is gravely ill — to be shared if his condition were to grow even more
Montgomery County health officials confirmed 147 new COVID-19 cases Monday including a jump of 87 in active cases which pushed that total past 2,000.
According to the Montgomery County Public Health District, those 147 cases bring the county’s total number of cases to 12,991. Active cases are now at 2,030. The county’s number of COVID-related deaths remained at 144.
Angry European farmers are pushing for a ban on calling vegetarian products a “burger” or a “sausage” that they say mislead consumers into thinking certain products contain meat.
Their demand was part of a legislative proposal on Monday at the European Parliament, which MEPs are to vote on later this week in Brussels.
The ban request comes on the back of the rising success of high-end veggieburgers that closely replicate the taste and sensation of eating meat.
Vegetarianism is also gaining ground due to the link between raising cattle and climate change.
Also banned would be products labelled as “yoghurt-style” or “cheese-like” for non-dairy based products. Terms such as “soy milk” and “vegan cheese” are already banned in the EU.
According to the proposal, “terms and descriptions referring to ‘meat’ should be reserved exclusively for the parts of animals fit for human consumption”.
The draft text lists “steak”, “sausage”, “escalope”, “burger” and “hamburger” as examples of banned words.
The ban request comes on the back of the rising success of high-end veggieburgers that closely replicate the taste and sensation of eating meatPhoto: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Drew Angerer
The parliament’s agriculture committee proposed the passage as an amendment to a vast farming bill that would go to a vote on Tuesday.
Jean-Pierre Fleury, of the EU’s farmers association Copa and Cogeca, called the misuse of meat labels “an obvious case of cultural hijacking.”
“We are about to create a brave new world where marketing is disconnected from the real nature of products, which is just asking for things to spin out of control!” he said earlier this month.
Food advocacy group ProVeg International said the opposite was true and that the terms “provide important information regarding the taste and uses that people can expect from a product.”
“Just as we all know that peanut butter does not contain butter, consumers know exactly what they are getting when they buy veggie burgers or veggie sausages,” said ProVeg’s Alex Gromminger.
Herv? Salomon, director for France of veggie butter-maker Upfield, called the proposal “totally absurd” and said it went against everything the EU is trying to achieve in terms of lowering pollution in farming.
Voting results should be available no earlier than Wednesday. If the present text is adopted, it would then be negotiated with EU member states as part of a reform to the EU’s agriculture policies.
MCHENRY AND LAKE COUNTIES, IL — A spike in coronavirus cases and hospital admissions could mean Lake and McHenry counties could see an end to indoor dining or restrictions placed on sports activities as early as next week, health officials said Friday. Region 9, which includes Lake and McHenry counties, is teetering on the edge of the state’s thresholds that could trigger additional mitigations — all set up as a way to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
McHenry County, in particular, has seen a steep spike in cases with the coronavirus positivity rate jumping nearly two percentage points in just one week. As of Oct. 14, the 7-day rolling average for COVID-19 positivity rate is 8.9 percent in McHenry County and 5.9 percent in Lake County, according to Illinois Department of Public Health stats.
Region 9 is currently at a 6.8 percent positivity rate — up from 5.6 percent a week ago.
Also on Friday, the state set a record for new coronavirus cases for a second day in a row totaling 4,554 new cases. Meanwhile, hospitalizations jumped more than 14 percent since the beginning of the week. And McHenry County was added to the state’s “watch list,” due to concerning trends in COVID-19 cases.
Similar health trends are cropping across the Chicago area and state health officials are urging mayors, police, state’s attorney’s office and other community leaders to take swift action to slow the spread of the virus as people, they say, are not abiding by rules set up to keep everyone safe and healthy.
“Public health officials are observing businesses blatantly disregarding mitigation measures, people not social distancing, gathering in large groups, and not using face coverings,” according to a news release from the state health department Friday.
Meanwhile, at least one school district in Region 9, Woodstock Community District 200, has decided to delay its move to hybrid learning due to COVID-19 trends. The school district only planned switch from remote learning to its hybrid model if McHenry County was on track on four of its COVID-19 metrics.
“According to the COVID-19 metrics provided by the McHenry County Department of Health, the county does not meet the metric for weekly count or new case increase. This number has increased for the previous two weeks and in fact has increased 51% for all of McHenry County residents and increased 42% for school age children in the last week,” District 200 Superintendent Mike Moan wrote in a letter posted on the school district’s website. “These significant increases caused the metric to fall short of the goal to move to hybrid instruction.”
In addition, area business owners are starting to worry what another shutdown could mean for their bottom line.
Melissa Blach, owner of Smoothology Smoothie Cafe in Crystal Lake, says her business has been destroyed by the pandemic, according to the Northwest Herald. Another shutdown for her cafe at 67 E. Woodstock Street if more restrictions are put in place for businesses in the county.