Chaunie Brusie BSN, RN
Chaunie Brusie BSN, RN
June 22, 2020 - 3 min read

U.S. Sees a Spike in COVID Cases

Recent testing across the country reveals a huge increase in the number of positive COVID cases.

As the country seems to be a mix of people cautiously venturing outside again and those who never really embraced the mask, one thing has become increasingly clear: the pandemic is definitely not over.

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Which States Are Seeing a Spike

Some of the states that are showing spikes of coronavirus include Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Arizona.

Alabama, CNBC reports, has 29,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and a quarter of those were verified in just the last two weeks. Florida reached a record-high rate on June 20th, reporting 4,049 new cases on just that day alone–numbers that were high enough to prompt some concern from the NBA, slated to begin playing in Orlando in July.

Meanwhile, Houston reported over 1,800 new cases by the weekend, and The Texas Medical Center’s hospitals analyzed data that showed the greater Houston area had 400 new hospital admissions in only the past two days. The Arizona Department of Health Services released their numbers as 52,300 cases with 1,339 known deaths, a 5.2% new infection rate, and a record number of new hospitalizations for COVID. A local sheriff scheduled to meet with the President even tested positive upon arriving at the White House — but says he will not wear a mask or enforce mask mandates after his quarantine is over.

So, what’s with all the spikes? It may be natural to assume that the increasing number of infections can be attributed to more testing, but you can easily determine if that’s true by looking at the percentage of positive tests as compared to the number of tests given out.

In short, if there’s still a high rate of positive tests even with correspondingly high levels of testing, you know that the infection rate is increasing — not just picking up positive cases that would have already been there. For a visual on this, you can see some easy charts via Time Magazine. Additionally, increasing hospitalization rates — as both Texas and Arizona are seeing — is a huge indication that the infections are indeed new.

Because the numbers show a clear increase in cases, experts have speculated this may be the second wave of COVID or a resurgence in infection rates as states move through reopening phases.

Travel nursing assignments available in COVID affected areas.

Did the Protests Cause a Spike in COVID?

Surprisingly, preliminary research has found that the states that had large numbers of protestors in the wake of George Floyd’s death and escalating racial tension did not result in a large number of new COVID infections.

Minnesota, which served as the ground zero for the protests over three weeks ago — and feared incubator of the virus — rolled out aggressive testing sites near the protests in an effort to curb the spread. According to reports, the testing sites saw large numbers of protesters who were swabbed, not necessarily because they were showing symptoms, but because they were aware of the risks they had exposed themselves to. So far, the results of the testing show a 1.8% positive rate, which experts have hailed as a relief.

Other states that saw protest numbers were high included New York, Illinois, and Washington, and so far, the numbers are coming back consistent with far less-than-expected positive rates. So why didn’t the spike that experts feared would happen actually happen? Experts aren’t entirely sure but have theorized that it’s a combination of protesters wearing masks, being outdoors, and practicing social distancing even during the events.

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What Does This Mean for Travel Nurses?

A spike in COVID-19 cases across the country obviously means that there could be increased opportunities for travel nursing positions in hard-hit areas. And if you’ve already had experience working in a COVID unit, you can be a valuable asset to any travel nursing agency.

You may be especially critical if you have experience in areas such as:

  • ICU
  • Critical care
  • Public health
  • ER

If you have been infected with the novel coronavirus yourself, or have tested positive for the antibodies, you may (rightly so) be wondering how that could affect your employment potential. And while it can be definitely helpful if you want to share that information with your nurse recruiter, as of right now, there are no official policies that are granting preference for nurses with COVID-19 antibodies.

Some antibody tests are still being tested for accuracy, and some may have been faulty to begin with, so more research on their validity is needed. In addition, because the novel coronavirus is, well, novel, scientists still aren’t 100% sure what mutations of the virus may look like–and what that could mean for potential reinfection rates.

In the meantime, however, if you are interested in signing on for a travel nursing assignment in emerging COVID-19 hotspots, or just want to offer your experiences as a veteran COVID-19 nurse, now is the time to get your paperwork in order and speak with a recruiter who can alert you of any position matches.

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