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The COVID-19 comeback across the U.S. is putting pressure on hospitals at a time when some of them are busy just trying to catch up on surgeries and other procedures that were put on hold during the pandemic, the AP reports. With the highly contagious delta variant spreading rapidly, cases in the U.S. are up around 70% over the last week, hospital admissions have climbed about 36% and deaths rose by 26%, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

Some hospitals are reporting record or near-record patient volumes. But even for those that aren't, this round of the pandemic is proving tougher in some ways, hospital and health officials said. Staff members are worn out, and finding traveling nurses to boost their ranks can be tough.

For the first time since last winter, cases are rising in all 50 states. And the nation's vaccination drive has slowed to a crawl, with only about 48% of the population fully protected.

The fear now at some hospitals is that they will have to postpone non-COVID-19 care again — and risk the potential health consequences for patients.

In Idaho on Friday, 161 new COVID-19 infections were reported.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned that the outbreak in the U.S. is becoming “a pandemic of the unvaccinated” because nearly all hospital admissions and deaths are among those who hadn’t been immunized. You can read the full AP story online here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up Saturday's edition of the Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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