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Health officials attribute the spike to businesses reopening and Memorial Day weekend gatherings in late May.
U.S. states of Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas reported Tuesday record increases in new COVID-19 cases after recording all-time highs last week, while hospitalizations are also rising or at record highs.
Nevada also reported its highest single-day tally of new cases, up from a previous high on May 23.
At Arizona’s Tucson Medical Center, just a single intensive care unit (ICU) bed designated for COVID-19 patients was available Monday, with the other 19 beds filled, a hospital representative said.
“ICU to be expanded, hopefully, in coming days,” infectious disease expert at the hospital Steven Oscherwitz said in a tweet. “Not sure where people needing ICU care will be able to go, since most AZ (Arizona) hospitals are pretty full now.”
In Oregon, health officials are trying to contain an outbreak of more than 200 new cases in Union County linked to the Lighthouse United Pentecostal Church, where hundreds of people stood close together singing on May 24 according to a video on the church’s Facebook.
In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott said the record number of new cases is due to more testing. Hospitalizations - a metric not linked to increased testing - also hit a record high. But the state has nearly 15,000 hospital beds available, Abbott said.
The top Texas health official, John Hellerstedt, said the increase was manageable but the situation could change.
“The possibility that things could flare up again and produce a resurgence of COVID-19,” which would stress the state’s healthcare system “is still very real,” Hellerstedt said.
In Oklahoma, where U.S. President Donald Trump plans to hold an indoor campaign rally on Saturday, new cases rose 68 percent.
Oklahoma health officials urged anyone attending the rally to get tested before arriving and then to self-isolate following the event and get tested again. The health commissioner urged those over 65 or at higher risk of coronavirus-related complications to stay home.
More than 2.1 million people have been infected with the coronavirus in the U.S. and 119,132 have died from the disease, by far the most in the world.
Health officials attribute the spike to businesses reopening and Memorial Day weekend gatherings in late May while many states are also bracing for a possible increase in cases stemming from the protests against racial injustice and police brutality for the past three weeks.