Alaska, which led most US states on coronavirus vaccinations months ago, took the drastic step on Wednesday to impose standards of crisis care for its entire hospital system, saying that an overwhelming increase in the number of COVID-19 patients has forced the rationing of strained medical resources.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy and health officials announced the move as the statewide tally of new confirmed cases hit another single-day high of 1,224 patients amid a wave of infections caused by the spread of the highly contagious delta variant among the unvaccinated.
The delta variant “cripples our health care system. It impacts everything from heart attacks and strokes to our children if they have a bicycle accident,” said Dr Anne Zink, chief medical officer of Alaska, at a press conference with Dunleavy.
Alaska Health and Human Services Commissioner Adam Crum announced he had signed an emergency rider extending to all of the state’s crisis care standards announced the last week at the state’s largest hospital, Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. The new document limits the liability of crisis medical care providers in all Alaska hospitals.
Additionally, it recognizes the realities of rationed care statewide, with scarce medical supplies and staff prioritized so as to deny normal levels of care to some patients for the good of others, based on their condition. health and their chances of recovery.
To deal with the influx of COVID-19, Alaska signed a US $ 87 million contract to enlist hundreds of out-of-state healthcare workers, officials said.
About a fifth of hospital patients in Alaska are infected with COVID-19, according to state data. But that number underestimates the burden on the system as a whole as it “crushes” the ability to treat victims of car accidents, strokes, heart attacks and other illnesses, Dunleavy said.
Ironically, in April, Alaska had ranked among the best states to put COVID-19 vaccines in the arms of residents, helped in large part by the efforts of the state’s pandemic-aware indigenous population.
Alaska has since fallen below the national average, with just 58% of residents aged 12 and over fully vaccinated, according to the state’s database. The vaccination collapse coincided with significant political resistance to public health demands.
-From Reuters, last update 6:45 am ET
What’s happening across Canada
Saskatchewan’s only children’s hospital opens its pediatric intensive care unit to young adults with COVID-19.
People under the age of 40 are admitted to the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon. The Saskatchewan Health Authority said on Wednesday that so far two adults are in pediatric intensive care, and space is made for more.
Dr Susan Shaw, chief medical officer of the health authority, said the capacity of intensive care was strained.
The province recently reported record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations – mostly unvaccinated patients.
-From The Canadian Press, last updated 6:40 am ET
What is happening in the world
As of Thursday morning, more than 230.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University Case Tracker. The death toll worldwide was over 4.7 million.
In the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization has warned that countries in the region may continue to face localized outbreaks of COVID-19 until 2022, even though deaths have fallen from their peak in January.
In the Middle East, Syria is facing a new wave of infections in government-controlled areas and territories outside of state control, which could overwhelm the fragile health system of the war-ravaged country.
The inequity of the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Africa On Thursday, representatives of many African countries whose populations have little or no access to life-saving gunfire will take the podium to speak at the annual meeting of UN world leaders. Already, the fight to contain the coronavirus pandemic has featured prominently in the speeches of leaders. The countries expected to deliver their annual speeches are Zimbabwe, Uganda and South Africa.
In the Asia Pacific region, Police in the Australian city of Melbourne prepared for a fourth day of anti-lockdown protests on Thursday as a vaccination center closed after protesters mistreated staff, the operator said, while COVID-19 cases in Victoria state hit a daily record. Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets of the city of five million people since authorities this week ordered construction sites to be closed for two weeks and made vaccines compulsory for construction workers to limit the spread of the virus .
Japan plans to give other countries 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said, doubling the target from the previous commitment of 30 million doses.
Thailand, meanwhile, has pushed back plans to reopen Bangkok and some other major cities with foreign arrivals until November.
In Europe, the European Medicines Agency will probably decide in early October whether or not to approve a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be administered six months after the initial course in two injections.
“The result of this assessment is expected in early October, unless additional information is needed,” the agency’s vaccine strategy manager, Marco Cavaleri, told a press briefing on Thursday.
-From Reuters and The Associated Press, last updated 11:05 am ET
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