Hospitals may be asked to separate the number of patients who come in because they have covid from those who test positive after admission, Politico reported. Meanwhile, covid cases are generally declining in the United States, and the death rate may even start following that trend as well.

Politico: Biden officials attempt to recalculate US hospitalizations for Covid-19

The Biden administration is working to recalculate the number of Covid-19 hospitalizations in the United States, according to two senior officials familiar with the matter. A task force made up of scientists and data specialists from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with hospitals across the country to improve reporting on Covid-19. The group is asking hospitals to report the number of patients entering the facility because they have Covid-19 and to separate those from people entering for other reasons who test positive after admission, the two officials said. (Bank, 2/7)

Cases are falling in many regions, but not all –

Anchorage Daily News: Alaska hospitals report drop in COVID-19 patient numbers and fewer calls from staff

The waning surge of COVID-19 in Alaska associated with the omicron variant appears to have loosened its grip on hospitals across the state this week. Hospital capacity has been limited by sick calls from staff linked to the virus as well as supply chain disruptions and a high number of sick patients, including those with COVID-19, according to health officials and of the hospital. At times, Anchorage hospitals have reported hundreds of sick or quarantined workers. Now the number of COVID-positive patients is dropping, but more importantly, the state’s largest hospitals say calls from workers are also dropping, according to Jared Kosin, president and CEO of Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association. (Holland, 2/7)

AP: Pressure on Nebraska hospitals eases as COVID-19 cases drop

Pressure is easing on Nebraska hospitals as the spike in COVID-19 cases due to the highly contagious omicron variant continues to ease, but hospitals remain very busy. Nebraska hospital officials said on Monday they were cautiously optimistic that the decline in virus hospitalizations would continue, but they worried about the possibility of a further surge. Hospitalizations have increased almost continuously since the delta variant arrived in the state last summer. (2/7)

Houston Chronicle: COVID-19 cases in Houston continue to fall after Omicron’s record spike, but intensive care units are still full

New data from hospitals in Houston on Monday showed COVID-19 cases continue to fall since January’s omicron-fueled peak, evidence that the omicron wave is receding almost as quickly as it arrived. But the encouraging numbers come after a brutal few weeks, in which Texas neared 80,000 COVID deaths and Houston-area hospitals rushed to treat an influx of patients, many of them unvaccinated. And federal health forecasts predict the state could see up to 4,000 additional deaths by the end of February as omicron infections continue to spread in vulnerable populations. (Michanec, 2/7)

Billings Gazette: COVID cases surge among young people, RiverStone Health offers vaccination incentive

In the past week, another 37 Montana residents have died from illnesses related to COVID-19. Active cases of COVID stood at 10,256. Although cases are still high, the number of active cases is down from 18,607 last Monday. Over the past two weeks, hospitalizations have increased by 16% with 310 active hospitalizations on Monday. Missoula County currently leads the state in active cases with 1,966, according to the state’s dashboard. Over the weekend, the county had 3,647 active cases. Although Missoula County is tracking the decline in cases statewide, county public health officer D’Shane Barnett said he’s not sure yet whether to let up on efforts to ‘mitigation. (Schabacker, 2/7)

And the death rate may be starting to drop –

USA Today: Signs point to falling US death rate from COVID

Daily deaths in the United States from the most recent coronavirus surge may finally be set to decline. Most states are now reporting fewer deaths than a week ago, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. Twenty states still had more deaths than the previous week, but that represents a decrease of 14 states. The United States continues to average 2,400 to 2,500 deaths per day, a daily human cost roughly equal to the losses at Pearl Harbor. The death toll from COVID topped 900,000 on Friday. If the pace of American deaths falls at the same rate it has increased during the current omicron surge, the nation will hit 1 million in about 55 days, or early April. (Ortiz, Bacon and Tebor, 2/7)

CIDRAP: United States records 60,000 COVID-19 deaths in January

At the end of last week, America’s pandemic death toll reached 900,000 – with 60,000 deaths recorded in January alone – and 100,000 deaths recorded since December 13. The death toll in January doubled that of November, the month before Omicron became the dominant variant in the country. According to NBC News, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania have the most deaths after adjusting for population. (Soucheray, 2/7)

San Francisco Chronicle: Bay Area COVID Deaths Rise Sharply, Even as Cases Drop

The number of daily COVID deaths reported in the Bay Area has doubled from two weeks ago, but appears to be leveling off in recent days. At the same time, COVID patient cases and hospitalizations continue to plunge from the top of the omicron surge. Coronavirus deaths in the region have increased since Jan. 24, from 11 a day to 22 a day from Monday, according to state data on seven-day averages of new daily deaths. Statewide, the number of people who died from COVID-19 rose from 120 per day to 184 per day during the same period. With the rapid rate of transmission of the now-dominant omicron variant of the coronavirus and the still high number of cases, people are now dying at a much higher rate than they were during the delta’s summer surge. (Vaziri, 2/7)

As well –

Los Angeles Times: Nursing home infamous for high COVID death toll to close

Kingston Health Care Center in Bakersfield – a long-struggling nursing home that saw 19 residents die in an initial COVID outbreak – announced it would close after the Department of Health and Human Services Health Services said the facility can no longer receive Medicare or Medicaid payments. The department cited a long history of health code and other violations. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services office in San Francisco notified Kingston that his contract would be terminated Feb. 6 because he “failed to substantially comply with multiple Medicare and Medicaid requirements,” including infection control, residents’ rights, quality of life, quality of care, food and nutrition, and dental and medical services. (Mozingo, 2/7)

Statistic: For healthcare workers, exhaustion mixes with a sense of betrayal

Beneath the deep exhaustion, exhausted healthcare workers say they grapple with another feeling: betrayal. Many clinicians felt that with the waves of Covid came waves of abandonment – ​​by employers unable or unwilling to protect workers, by lawmakers undermining public health measures and by a public resigned to the crisis. In progress. And ultimately, healthcare workers may feel betrayed by themselves, as circumstances beyond their control make it painfully difficult to care for their patients or colleagues. (Cueto, 2/8)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage by major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.

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