A record number of people in the United States are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a tally conducted by Reuters. As of Monday (January 10), there were 132,646 people in the hospital. The previous record of 132,051 was set last January.
In recent weeks, ten states, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin, have reported a record number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
The number of hospitalizations has doubled in the past three weeks, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant has quickly spread across the country. Many of the patients are not showing up to the hospital seeking treatment for COVID but end up testing positive for the virus as part of routine testing by hospitals.
“I’ve admitted patients with abdominal pain, I’ve admitted patients with chest pain who had no symptoms of respiratory illness, cough or COVID, and they just ended up being COVID positive,” Dr. Rahul Sharma, the emergency physician-in-chief for the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, told NBC News.
Even though those patients may not have symptoms, they must still be isolated from other patients and monitored for any potential complications from the virus.
The influx of patients has left many hospitals overwhelmed. In addition to the high number of people with COVID seeking treatment, health care facilities are dealing with staffing shortages. According to ABC News, 23.5% of hospitals in the U.S. are reporting they are dealing with critical staffing issues.