(Bloomberg) — The northern New England states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, all highly vaccinated, are suffering from surges that are taxing hospitals beset by staff shortages and sicker-than-usual patients.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu told reporters Tuesday that the state is seeing its highest level of Covid-19 since the pandemic began, averaging about 1,000 new infections per day. He issued an executive order to help hospitals use their space more flexibly to add capacity.
He also said the state’s residents would soon be able to order about 1 million at-home Covid tests, for free, in part through a partnership between Amazon and the National Institutes of Health. And he announced a “Booster Blitz” for Dec. 11, when 20 sites around the state will offer third doses.
As Minnesota continues to set 2021 records for the number of COVID-19 patients receiving hospital care, Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday outlined steps the state is taking to protect hospital capacity amid the latest pandemic surge.
Federal medical teams this week are starting to help at Hennepin Healthcare’s HCMC in Minneapolis and will soon arrive at CentraCare’s St. Cloud Hospital. New facilities are creating space so hospitals can discharge patients to the next level of care, Walz said, and Minnesota National Guard members are being trained to support long-term care providers.
But even with those efforts, the governor said during a news conference at HCMC that the state faces a critical time in the coming weeks.
Some people are taking Covid-19 antibody tests to determine whether they might be protected against the virus. Many health officials and doctors wish they wouldn’t.
Antibody tests are one tool some people are deploying to help them decide which precautions to take to protect themselves and curb the spread of Covid-19. Some vaccinated people say they want to know whether their protection has weakened to the point that they should get a booster, while some previously infected people say they want to measure the strength of the response the virus generated in their immune systems.
GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization’s Europe office says projections show its 53-country region could face another 700,000 deaths in the coronavirus pandemic by next spring, topping 2 million in total.
WHO Europe, which is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, also cited growing evidence of a decline in protection against infection and mild disease through vaccines, and said a “booster dose” should be given as a priority to the most vulnerable populations — including people with weakened immune systems — as well as people over age 60 and health care workers.
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