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COVID-19 Hospitalizations In US Reach Levels Not Seen Since Last Winter's Surge

(CBSDFW.COM/CNN) - The spread of the Omicron variant is causing widespread disruption in Texas and across the US as hospitalizations reach a level not seen since the 2020-21 holiday surge.

More than 141,000 Americans were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, nearing the record of 142,246 hospitalizations on January 14, 2021.

The burden is straining health care networks as hospitals juggle staffing issues caused by the increased demand coupled with employees, who are at a higher risk of infection, having to isolate and recover after testing positive.

In Texas, at least 2,700 medical staffers are being hired, trained and deployed to assist with the surge, joining more than 1,300 personnel already sent across the state, the Texas Department of State Health Services said in a statement.

In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam declared a limited state of emergency Monday as the number of ICU hospitalizations more than doubled since December 1. The order allows hospitals to expand bed capacity and gives more flexibility in staffing, he said, adding that it also expands the use of telehealth as well as expands which medical professionals can give vaccines.

Kentucky has mobilized the National Guard to provide support, with 445 members sent to 30 health care facilities, the state announced.

In Kansas, the University of Kansas Health System, which announced a record number of COVID-19 patients, is "shifting staff from areas that can support the supportive functions of direct patient care," UKHS chief operating officer Chris Ruder said. "So that may be running a lab, it may be a simple patient transport. Those types of things we can use other individuals to help with."

Mitigation measures such as mandatory masking are also being revived in some areas.

Other Industries Continue To Be Hit

Not only has the strain of the Omicron surge taken its toll on health care workers and educators, but other sectors also are struggling due to the high infection rate.

Some municipalities have seen nearly a quarter of their trash collection workforce call in sick in recent weeks due to COVID-19, leading to delays, according to the Solid Waste Association of North America.

"This coincided, unfortunately, with increased trash and recycling volumes associated with the holidays. However, we hope that as volumes decline and sanitation workers return to work, these delays will prove temporary," executive director and CEO David Biderman said in a statement Monday.

In travel, US airlines canceled thousands of additional flights over the weekend due to COVID-19 callouts and winter storms, and cruise line Royal Caribbean International announced it has canceled voyages on four ships because of "ongoing COVID-related circumstances around the world." Last week, Norwegian Cruise Line canceled the voyages of eight ships.

(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The CNN Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company contributed to this report.)

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