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Coronavirus cases break records as states in every part of U.S. reel under the surge

In Illinois, the top health official broke down in tears at a news conference where she announced a rise in cases, and in Ohio a university mourned the death of an 18-year-old student.
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As the United States set records for the number of new coronavirus cases, states in every part of the country are reeling under the surge.

Two back-to-back daily records for single-day increases in U.S. cases were set on Friday, with 79,303 new cases, and on Thursday with 77,640, according to NBC News' tally. The previous high of 75,723 was set July 29.

The total number of cases has reached 8.6 million, with over 225,000 deaths.

And the toll is being felt around the country.

  • Among the dead is an 18-year-old who was a student at University of Dayton in Ohio. "I think it is a wake-up call," said a fellow student of the death of the teen, who had gone home to Illinois in September for remote study.
  • Illinois' top public health official broke down in tears during a news conference Friday as she reported over 3,800 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state's total to more than 370,000.
  • Ohio set another single-day case record after reporting 2,518 new cases Friday, bringing its total to 192,948, according to NBC News' tally. "We can't let this situation continue to domino out of control," the governor said this week as the state put out a new ad with a visualization of how the virus spreads.
  • New Mexico has seen its cases double over the past two weeks to more than 40,000. "The threat of this virus remains very real", the governor reminded residents.
  • South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was put under a one-week lockdown by the Oglala Sioux Tribe to slow the spread of the virus.
  • Idaho is also experiencing an uptick in cases that is starting to overwhelm hospitals in the state. “Our hospital is not built for a pandemic," said a pulmonologist at a hospital in Coeur d’Alene.
  • New Jersey's governor said Saturday he extended a public health emergency in the state for an additional 30 days in light of an "alarming rise in cases," the highest since May.
  • And the top health official in one of Florida’s most populous counties discouraged parents from hosting birthday parties for their children, no matter the size.

The University of Dayton student died Thursday after a lengthy hospitalization, the school's president said in a letter to the university community, reported NBC affiliate WDTN in Dayton. The university didn't say whether the student, who was in his first year, was believed to have contracted the virus at the school or elsewhere. He had left campus on Sept. 13 to study remotely from home.

In Illinois, the state's top health official, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, became emotional at a news conference where she noted the increase in the case count and that over 9,400 people have died of the virus in the state. "These are people who started with us in 2020 and won't be with us at the Thanksgiving table."

"We are seeing the number of people with Covid-19 continue to increase," Ezike said. "We are seeing the number of individuals in the hospital because of Covid-19 increase. We are seeing the number of lives lost continue to increase."

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a new ad campaign Thursday "that serves as a visual reminder of how quickly #COVID19 spreads." The coronavirus has killed 2,506 people in Ohio so far.

"We have the power to turn this around. Wear your masks. Wash your hands. Keep your social distance," DeWine tweeted.

Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced mitigation efforts on Friday to curb a spike in cases, including temporarily closing businesses deemed to be hot spots, limiting retail hours, and enhancing safety requirements for food-and-drink establishments.

"The threat of this virus remains very real. Please do your part to slow its spread and protect yourself & your community," Lujan Grisham tweeted. The coronavirus has killed 960 people in New Mexico.

In South Dakota, the Oglala Sioux Tribe banned all nonessential travel at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and ordered nonessential businesses to close until Oct. 30. The tribe tweeted that there were 391 active Covid-19 cases as of Thursday on the reservation that has about 20,000 residents.

The lockdown comes as South Dakota surpassed 9,000 coronavirus cases on Thursday and reported an all-time high of new cases.

In Idaho, a hospital in northern part of the state said it is running out of space for patients and is considering airlifting people to Seattle or Portland after the facility reached 99 percent capacity, according to Dr. Robert Scoggins, a pulmonologist at the Kootenai Health hospital in Coeur d’Alene.

“We’ve essentially shut down an entire floor of our hospital," he said. "We’ve had to double rooms. We’ve bought more hospital beds.”

Another hospital in the southern Idaho city of Twin Falls, stopped accepting children because it is overwhelmed with coronavirus patients. Newborns and all patients under age 18 will be sent to Boise, a town 128 miles away.

New Jersey Gov Phil Murphy said on Twitter on Saturday that with the rise in cases, which the state reported as nearly 2,000 in one day, "I urge every New Jerseyan to stay vigilant. This virus has not gone away simply because we are tired of it."

In Florida's Orange County, Dr. Raul Pino, a state health officer, discouraged parents from holding birthday parties of any size, saying that half of the 30 attendees at a recent Sweet 16 party in the Orlando area came down with the virus. Last month, an Orange County high school closed for two weeks after students who had attended a birthday party tested positive.

“Those parties will not only affect those people participating in that activity, but also everyone else they come into contact with when they leave,” said Pino. “We will continue to see consequences if we don’t act super-responsibly.”

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott is sending more medical reinforcements to the El Paso area in response to a rise in coronavirus infections. The Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Division of Emergency Management will provide more medical personnel and equipment this week.

El Paso County reported about 3,750 new coronavirus infections this week, including 1,161 on Thursday — accounting for nearly 18 percent of the 21,321 cases reported this week by the state’s 254 counties.