COVID deaths tick up in some states ahead of holidays

COVID deaths tick up in some states ahead of holidays

Several states are experiencing increases in deaths related to COVID-19 as the holidays approach and this year’s respiratory viral season sets in.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eight states saw increases in coronavirus deaths based on data available through Nov. 11: Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Michigan, North Carolina and Tennessee. The absolute increases ranged from 0.1 percent in Colorado to 3 percent in Maryland.

Both Colorado and Maryland were the only two states where the percentage of deaths in the past week caused by COVID-19 were in the yellow range, meaning they fell within 4 to 5.9 percent of deaths. Maine nearly fell within this category at 4 percent.

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Nationally, the absolute increase in COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. rose by 0.2 percent that week, according to the CDC’s data.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 also rose by 8.6 percent. Currently, only 1.3 percent of U.S. counties — 42 — are considered to have high hospital admission levels. Since the end of the public health emergency for the pandemic, hospitalization rates have served as the metric for community COVID-19 levels. About 86 percent of the country is currently considered low in hospital admission rates.

Last month, the CDC’s Respiratory Disease Season Outlook projected the U.S. would likely see a similar amount of hospitalizations as it did last winter. Whether hospitalizations end up being somewhat higher or lower than projected, they will likely be higher than before the pandemic.

The majority of the country is experiencing minimal or low rates of emergency department (ED) visits in which people are testing positive for the virus. ED visits, however, did rise by 7.1 percent in the most recently recorded week.

New Mexico is currently the only state reporting “substantial” rates of ED visits in which patients are testing positive, though that data for states including Oklahoma, Missouri and Minnesota is not available.

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