The number of Americans admitted to hospital with Covid-19 rose to a new high near 115,000, while the pace of new infections eased to its lowest level since the start of December.
Hospitalisations have slowed across much of the US Midwest in recent weeks, an encouraging sign after the region emerged as a hotspot for coronavirus early in an autumn resurgence of the disease.
However, several states in the north-east, south and west continue to grapple with a rise in admissions for Covid-19.
Current hospitalisations climbed to 115,351 on Monday from the 113,601 patients reported 24 hours earlier, according to Financial Times analysis of Covid Tracking Project data. Hospitalisations previously reached a high of 114,459 on December 17.
States tallied a combined 178,191 new coronavirus cases, the lowest figure since December 1, even as they processed the fourth-largest number of tests for one day at nearly 2.1m. That equated to a one-day positivity rate of 8.6 per cent, the lowest mark in six weeks.
A healthcare worker in San Jose, California, is vaccinated
The figures included 10,280 new confirmed and probable infections in Texas, when accounting for cases added from a backlog. The state also reported that 10,009 Covid-19 patients were in hospital, up from 9,856 a day earlier and the highest level since July 24.
California, the most populous US state, added 37,892 cases to its tally, below a one-week average of 43,901 a day. It reported a daily high of 53,711 new infections on Wednesday last week.
Hospitalisations in California remained at their highest level of the pandemic. They rose by 347 patients to 17,190, according to data from the state’s health department.
“We continue to see record-breaking [intensive care unit] capacity,” said governor Gavin Newsom. “A surge is putting real challenges on our staffing.”
The US counted 1,485 new known deaths attributed to coronavirus, below the 1,633 fatalities reported on Sunday and a one-week average of 2,652 a day, according to CTP data.