Health Care

Three-quarters of ICU beds across country are full

Hospitals report that three-quarters of the intensive care units in the United States are full, as COVID-19 continues to rampage the country.

Federal data shows almost 77.3 percent of all ICU beds are occupied with 28 percent of those beds filled with confirmed COVID-19 patients, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Almost half of all states report their hospitals’ ICUs have exceeded 75 percent capacity.

The high percentage shows that many hospitals are approaching or reaching their capacity to take care of the sickest patients, even as national hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to climb. 

Alabama has surpassed its ICU capacity as hospitals report 1,613 patients in ICU units, amounting to 102.3 percent of the state’s ICU beds. 

Other states are nearing their limit for ICU beds, with Mississippi, Florida, Texas, Georgia and Arkansas all at least 90 percent full. 

In all states but New Jersey and Wyoming, the majority of ICU beds are filled. The units in several hard-hit states, including Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Arkansas, are flooded with mostly COVID-19 patients. 

Overall, hospitals across the U.S. report that 75 percent of their general inpatient beds are filled, with 13.4 percent for confirmed COVID-19 patients. 

All states except Wyoming have a majority of their hospital beds filled, and in 19 states, more than three-quarters of inpatient beds are occupied. 

More than a quarter of all inpatient beds in Florida and Georgia are filled with confirmed COVID-19 patients, at 30.6 percent and 28.2 percent, respectively. Texas, Mississippi and Kentucky follow with at least one-fifth of their beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Georgia reports the highest percentage of occupied inpatient beds at almost 89.5 percent, followed by Florida, Rhode Island, Maryland and Massachusetts. 

Axios first reported on Wednesday that more than three-quarters of ICU beds are filled.

The high occupancy in ICUs comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise amid the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant. The U.S. has a seven-day average of about 94,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations per day as of Tuesday, according to data from The New York Times.

Health professionals have expressed concern that the current wave of hospitalizations could overwhelm the health care system as many hospitals deal with staff shortages amid burnout. 

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said on Tuesday that the state had run out of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients, following Alabama, which announced it had run out of ICU beds a week prior. This week, Kentucky also reported a record number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals. 

President Biden’s administration has repeatedly emphasized that almost all COVID-19 hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated, showing the vaccine works at preventing severe illness. 

“Let me be clear: There are cases where vaccinated people do get COVID-19, but they are far less common than unvaccinated people getting COVID-19,” Biden said on Monday. “And most importantly, their conditions are far less severe.”

Tags Alabama Asa Hutchinson Coronavirus COVID-19 hospitalizations hospitalizations icu icus Intensive care unit Joe Biden

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