Coronavirus hospitalizations are rising in 37 states, and rural hospitals are feeling the brunt of the fall surge. Upland Hills Health in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, has just three ICU beds total. Doctors say for the first time, they’re unable to transfer patients to larger hospitals.
“There have been situations where they’ve said, ‘Well, we don’t really have any ICU beds available, so you’re going to have to continue to care for this patient,'” Dr. Sarah Fox told CBS News.
In nearby Madison, just a few weeks ago, Dr. Alexandra Wick had no coronavirus patients at University Hospital. Now, all of her patients have COVID-19.
“I feel like we are at the limits of overwhelming the health system right now,” said Wick, who added that one patient had a re-infection of COVID-19 after having it a month ago.
Rural areas and medium-sized cities accounted for 20% of the first 100,000 to die from the coronavirus, according to reporting from NPR, and they accounted for nearly half of the second 100,000. Rural states now lead the country in per capita COVID-19 hospitalizations. In at least four Midwestern states — South Dakota, Iowa, Idaho and Wisconsin — an alarming 20% of recent tests are positive.
At one nursing home in Norton, Kansas, all 62 residents were infected, and 10 of them died. In South Dakota, with the highest COVID-19 positivity rate in the country at an astounding 37%, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken had this message: “Wear a dang mask when you’re indoors.”
Globally, more than 40.6 million cases of coronavirus have been reported, with over 1.1 million deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has seen more than 8 million cases, with more than 220,000 deaths.