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COVID-19 overwhelming hospital capacity in US, says HHS

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | December 22, 2020
Emergency Medicine
Nearly 700 hospitals are at 90% capacity due to COVID-19
Nearly 700 hospitals are at over 90% inpatient capacity, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The agency made the news public in a data set released earlier this month and also reported that 750 hospitals have exceeded 90% capacity in their ICUs, according to news site, Stacker. The release of this information comes amid a third surge in COVID-19 cases in almost every state.

The data set consists of counts of patients and hospitals beds at the individual hospital level for more than 4,000 facilities across the country. Stacker compiled a report that uses these counts, which are reported nearly every day by hospitals, to determine the rate of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, inpatient bed occupancy, and ICU bed occupancy.

HHS also looked at the rates at the state level. As of December 13, the states with the highest rate of occupied beds were Maryland (79.8%); Washington, D.C. (80%), and Rhode Island (85.2%). Those with the highest shares of their population hospitalized with COVID-19 were Arizona (53 patients per 100,000 population); Pennsylvania (55), and Nevada (67). Critical staffing shortages affected 19% of hospitals, with the highest in Arkansas (33.6% of hospitals in the state); Wisconsin (35.6%); and North Dakota (42%).

In addition, 24% of hospitals are expecting shortages like these later this month.

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