The number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in the United States increased by double digits in week-over-week comparisons, while the number of new deaths from the disease continued to tick downward slightly, according to an internal memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that was obtained by ABC News on Tuesday night.
The memo, which is circulated to the highest levels of the federal government and is used to determine daily priorities for the agencies working on COVID-19 response, said 34 U.S. states and territories are in an upward trajectory of new infections, while 10 jurisdictions are at a plateau and 12 others are in a downward trend.
There were 351,270 new cases confirmed during the period of Oct. 6-Oct. 12, a 14.4% increase from the previous week. There were also 4,886 fatalities from COVID-19 recorded during the same period, a 1.5% decrease compared with the week prior. The national positivity rate for COVID-19 tests increased from 4.7% to 6.1% in week-to-week comparisons, according to the memo.
Meanwhile, 22% of hospitals nationwide have more than 80% of beds full in their intensive care units. That figure was 17-18% during the summertime peak, the memo said.
California’s Sonoma County saw a 129.7% relative increase in new cases of COVID-19 between Sept. 29 and Oct. 6. The county confirmed 62 cases on Oct. 7 linked to outbreaks at schools and childcare facilities, according to the memo.
Kentucky reported on Oct. 7 its highest number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs since May. As of Oct. 6, the state’s seven-day average for ICU bed occupancy was 80.6%, with 43.7% of adult ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, the memo said.
Montana hit a peak of 504 new COVID-19 cases confirmed on Oct. 6. Daily hospital admissions in the state have increased from 40 in mid-September to more than 60 per day, with greater than 80 on Oct. 5 and Oct. 6. Montana’s seven-day hospitalization rate continues to rise from 15.7 per 100,000 population on sept. 29 to a four-month high of 20 per 100,000 population on Oct. 6. Local officials report that hospitals are closed to or at capacity and have started redirecting patients, according to the memo.
New Jersey’s seven-day COVID-19 case rate increased 20.6% to 539.5 cases per 1 million population between Sept. 29 and Oct. 6. The state has 71.7% of inpatient hospital beds occupied, with 56.4% of ICU beds full. At least 100 schools in New Jersey have teachers or students who have tested positive for COVID-19, the memo said.
New York recorded on Oct. 6 its highest number of total hospitalizations since July 22. The state has 79.5% of inpatient hospital beds occupied, with 62.4% of ICU beds full.
Utah reported more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases per day for six of the seven days last week. At the same time, week-to-week testing in the state has decreased slightly by 1.2%. Utah’s positivity rate for COVID-19 tests, however, has remained stable at 14%.