In New York, officials on Staten Island are reopening an emergency Covid-19 patient facility that had 200 patients in the spring, this time to help handle hospitalization levels that have nearly tripled on the island in the past three weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
And Los Angeles County is preparing to announce a “targeted safer-at-home” order this week that would residents leave home only for essential work and services for three weeks, county health director Barbara Ferrer said Monday.
That comes after the county recorded its highest one-day number of new Covid-19 infections — more than 6,100 on Monday.
“We’ve never seen a rate of increase as high as what we’ve just seen,” Ferrer said. “We have such a high rate of transmission and there’s so many people that are infected at this point, it will take a lot of work to get us back down.
This comes as the US has reported more than 3.2 million infections since the start of November — the most reported in a single month.
The average number of daily new infections across a week reached more than 196,000 on Monday — the highest on record.
In Minneapolis, the director of hospital medicine at Hennepin County Medical Center tearfully told CNN about caring for five Covid-19 patients the last time she worked. Two were sent to hospice care, and another — a woman in her 80s — died as her husband, also a patient, watched, she said.
“I don’t think you can describe how that feels to us as caretakers, to have to see that kind of suffering from patients,” Dr. Shirlee Xie said Tuesday.
While the hospital can add beds and equipment, “we can’t create doctors … we can’t create nurses to take care of patients,” she said. ” … I think we’re all just really, really scared of what’s to come.”
Covid-19 deaths are rising: The country’s average number of daily deaths across a week hit 1,529 Monday — the highest average since May 11. More than 257,900 people have died in the US since the pandemic’s start — more than any other country by far.
Expert: Safest thing to do this week is stay home
But 61% of Americans did alter their Thanksgiving plans in some way because of rising Covid-19 cases, according to poll results released Tuesday by Axios-Ipsos.
The most common changes reported were deciding to see only immediate household members, and having a smaller dinner than originally planned, according to the poll, which was based on a nationally representative sample of 1,002 US adults and conducted November 20-23.
About 9% said they no longer plan to celebrate the holiday at all.
28% increase in child cases over 2 weeks
It’s not just adults getting infected at rapidly rising rates.
There were more than 256,000 new Covid-19 cases reported in children between November 5 and November 19, according to a joint report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
That means as of November 19, nearly 1.2 million children had tested positive for the virus since the pandemic’s start — representing nearly 12% of all Covid-19 cases in states that report infections by age. The numbers in the report come from 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.
The report comes as more leaders across the country have begun shutting down schools amid case surges.
The Metro Nashville Public School district announced Monday schools will return from Thanksgiving break to all-virtual learning, and will remain that way for the rest of the semester.
“This is a serious and dramatic public health emergency that requires us all to renew our vigilance and take the safety precautions necessary to keep ourselves, our families, our friends, and those we may encounter safe through the wearing of masks, social distancing, and avoidance of large — especially indoor — gatherings whenever possible.”
CNN’s Kay Jones, Alexandra Meeks, Shelby Lin Erdman, Naomi Thomas, Elizabeth Cohen, Eileen McMenamin, Cheri Mossburg and Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.