Oxygen supply shortages hit parts of US amid spike in COVID-19 cases

A potential shortage of medical-grade oxygen could hit parts of the US as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, according to local media reports citing US state health officials.

A spike in COVID-19 cases, especially in Southern US states, has led to more demand for oxygen supply.

Hospitals in the southern states of Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and South Carolina are facing oxygen shortages, according to CNN.

Some hospitals said they are at risk of using their reserve supplies or face the ordeal of running out of oxygen completely.

With hospitals in the south already grappling with the coronavirus surge, earlier this week, Hurricane Ida made landfall as “an extremely dangerous” Category 4 storm in Louisiana, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Louisiana has had the third-highest incidence of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the US over the past week.

Public health emergency

On Monday, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra declared public health emergencies for the states of Louisiana and Mississippi due to Hurricane Ida.

“Following President Biden’s lead in declaring an emergency for the states of Louisiana and Mississippi due to Hurricane Ida, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra today declared public health emergencies for both states,” a press release read.

“The declarations give the HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) beneficiaries and their healthcare providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs in disasters,” the release added.

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