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Tracking COVID-19 hospitalization in every state

  • Tracking COVID-19 hospitalization in every state

    Hospitals around the country have been and continue to be filled to capacity thanks in large part to COVID-19. Medical centers and their staff across the United States are stretching their resources as far as they can to accommodate the influx of patients with COVID-19 on top of their normal load of patients for this time of year.

    The growing number of COVID-19 cases across the country has led to crowded emergency departments, hospital wards, and intensive care units (ICU). In New Mexico, hospitals were so overwhelmed as of Dec. 9, with no reduction in sight, that state health officials are planning to allow hospitals to ration care, meaning hospitals choose who to admit based on the patient’s odds of survival. In several states, such as Iowa, Mississippi, and Georgia, hospitals have had to send ambulances away—whether they’re carrying COVID-19 patients or others—because they don’t have the space and staff necessary to admit new patients in need of critical care. One Nevada hospital has expanded into its parking garage to add more beds for COVID-19 patients.

    To examine COVID-19 hospitalizations in every state, Stacker used current and historical data from the COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer effort based at The Atlantic, which compiles and standardizes daily testing and outcomes data from state health departments. The story also includes data on each state’s hospital capacity and hospitals experiencing staffing shortages, via the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Stacker visualized how many patients have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since March 1, when most states began reporting COVID-19 data. The visualizations show each state’s seven-day moving average of hospitalizations—the average number of hospitalizations for the previous seven days—as well as the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations for every 100,000 state residents. All data are from March 1 through Dec. 1.

    Read on to see the impact of this disease on hospitals across the country.

    Editor's note: Betsy Ladyzhets, a research associate at Stacker who worked on this story, volunteers for the COVID-19 Tracking Project.

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  • Alabama

    Hospitalization records:
    - First reported COVID-19 hospitalizations: Mar. 24
    - Date the state passed 100 COVID-19 patients: Mar. 26
    - Date the state passed 1,000 COVID-19 patients: Jul. 6
    - Date with the highest patient count: Dec. 13 (2,248 patients, 46 per 100,000 population)

    Hospital capacity as of Dec. 13:
    - Inpatient beds: 75.1% occupied (16.4% with COVID-19 patients)
    - ICU beds: 87.4% occupied (7.8% with COVID-19 patients)

    Hospital staffing shortages as of Dec. 13:
    - Current staffing shortage: 36 hospitals out of 117 (30.8%)
    - Anticipating a shortage in the next week: 40 hospitals (34.2%)

    Alabama began the month of December by breaking COVID-19 hospitalization records every day from Dec. 1 through Dec. 4, continuing to surpass its previous hospitalization numbers from Dec. 6 through Dec. 8. At least two hospital systems are recruiting retired nurses and physicians as well as nursing students for help.

  • Alaska

    Hospitalization records:
    - First reported COVID-19 hospitalizations: Apr. 18
    - Date the state passed 100 COVID-19 patients: Nov. 5
    - Date with the highest patient count: Dec. 5 (166 patients, 22 per 100,000 population)

    Hospital capacity as of Dec. 13:
    - Inpatient beds: 57.6% occupied (8.6% with COVID-19 patients)
    - ICU beds: 73.3% occupied (18.3% with COVID-19 patients)

    Hospital staffing shortages as of Dec. 13:
    - Current staffing shortage: 4 hospitals out of 24 (16.7%)
    - Anticipating a shortage in the next week: 3 hospitals (12.5%)

    In November, Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer, told Anchorage Daily News that Alaska’s capacity to care for patients keeps her up at night. At the beginning of December, COVID-19 patients accounted for 15.1% of hospitalizations. At major hospitals employee absences are up due to coronavirus infections, and hospitals have been trying to recruit temporary workers from outside the state. But they face competition from hospitals across the country trying to bring in extra help too.

  • Arizona

    Hospitalization records:
    - First reported COVID-19 hospitalizations: Apr. 13
    - Date the state passed 100 COVID-19 patients: Apr. 13
    - Date the state passed 1,000 COVID-19 patients: Jun. 2
    - Date with the highest patient count: Dec. 13 (3,622 patients, 52 per 100,000 population)

    Hospital capacity as of Dec. 13:
    - Inpatient beds: 76.7% occupied (22.3% with COVID-19 patients)
    - ICU beds: 71.1% occupied (5.7% with COVID-19 patients)

    Hospital staffing shortages as of Dec. 13:
    - Current staffing shortage: 38 hospitals out of 122 (31.1%)
    - Anticipating a shortage in the next week: 42 hospitals (34.4%)

    Banner Health, one of Arizona’s large health systems, cares for about half of the state’s COVID-19 patients, and was preparing to reach its capacity by Dec. 15, and hit 125% of its capacity Dec.18. Hospitals are also waiting on grant money to hire more medical staff. In light of rising cases and hospitalizations, University of Arizona’s COVID-19 modeling team sent a memo to the state’s department of health services, recommending officials impose a shelter-in-place order—along with emergency economic relief measures—to limit new cases and ease the burden on the state’s hospitals.

  • Arkansas

    Hospitalization records:
    - First reported COVID-19 hospitalizations: Mar. 22
    - Date the state passed 100 COVID-19 patients: Apr. 23
    - Date the state passed 1,000 COVID-19 patients: Nov. 25
    - Date with the highest patient count: Dec. 2 (1,088 patients, 36 per 100,000 population)

    Hospital capacity as of Dec. 13:
    - Inpatient beds: 72.5% occupied (13.0% with COVID-19 patients)
    - ICU beds: 79.4% occupied (10.7% with COVID-19 patients)

    Hospital staffing shortages as of Dec. 13:
    - Current staffing shortage: 37 hospitals out of 110 (33.6%)
    - Anticipating a shortage in the next week: 42 hospitals (38.2%)

    Like Alabama, Arkansas also began December by setting new COVID-19 hospitalization records. By mid-December, the state plans to have its Trauma Communications Center, the service that coordinates patient transfers between hospitals, coordinating COVID-19 patient transfers to make the best use of hospital resources.

  • California

    Hospitalization records:
    - First reported COVID-19 hospitalizations: Mar. 27
    - Date the state passed 100 COVID-19 patients: Mar. 27
    - Date the state passed 1,000 COVID-19 patients: Mar. 28
    - Date with the highest patient count: Dec. 13 (13,960 patients, 36 per 100,000 population)

    Hospital capacity as of Dec. 13:
    - Inpatient beds: 76.4% occupied (20.9% with COVID-19 patients)
    - ICU beds: 83.2% occupied (5.2% with COVID-19 patients)

    Hospital staffing shortages as of Dec. 13:
    - Current staffing shortage: 113 hospitals out of 415 (27.2%)
    - Anticipating a shortage in the next week: 137 hospitals (33.0%)

    At the end of November, Gov. Gavin Newsom estimated that by Christmas Eve, the need for critical care could surpass California’s hospitals’ capacity. To avoid this outcome, Los Angeles County issued a stay-at-home order at the end of November, banning gatherings except for outdoor religious services and outdoor political protests. On Dec. 3, California issued a new public health order that orders closure of certain businesses if a region has more than 85% of its ICU beds full.

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  • Colorado

    Hospitalization records:
    - First reported COVID-19 hospitalizations: Mar. 22
    - Date the state passed 100 COVID-19 patients: Mar. 24
    - Date the state passed 1,000 COVID-19 patients: Apr. 24
    - Date with the highest patient count: Dec. 2 (1,995 patients, 36 per 100,000 population)

    Hospital capacity as of Dec. 13:
    - Inpatient beds: 67.3% occupied (14.1% with COVID-19 patients)
    - ICU beds: 68.2% occupied (6.7% with COVID-19 patients)

    Hospital staffing shortages as of Dec. 13:
    - Current staffing shortage: 11 hospitals out of 103 (10.7%)
    - Anticipating a shortage in the next week: 17 hospitals (16.5%)

    Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalization record stood at 888 hospitalizations in one day from April until Nov. 5. That day there were 894 hospitalizations, and they’ve been on the rise since Dec. 1. The Denver Post provided a snapshot of the contrast between now and previous years: On Monday, Nov. 30, 79% of the state’s intensive-care and 81% of general medical care beds were in use, whereas in 2017, only about half of all beds were full on an average day.

  • Connecticut

    Hospitalization records:
    - First reported COVID-19 hospitalizations: Mar. 22
    - Date the state passed 100 COVID-19 patients: Mar. 25
    - Date the state passed 1,000 COVID-19 patients: Apr. 4
    - Date with the highest patient count: Apr. 22 (1,972 patients, 55 per 100,000 population)

    Hospital capacity as of Dec. 13:
    - Inpatient beds: 76.4% occupied (15.7% with COVID-19 patients)
    - ICU beds: 58.9% occupied (3.5% with COVID-19 patients)

    Hospital staffing shortages as of Dec. 13:
    - Current staffing shortage: 2 hospitals out of 40 (5.0%)
    - Anticipating a shortage in the next week: 3 hospitals (7.5%)

    In Connecticut, there may not be enough doctors and nurses to care for patients as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise. In the spring, health care workers from other states helped shoulder some of the burden, but with hospitalizations on the rise across the country, the state can’t rely on that aid. In anticipation of staffing shortages, hospitals are rethinking staffing plans, training more nurses in critical care and redeploying workers around the state where they’re most needed.

  • Delaware

    Hospitalization records:
    - First reported COVID-19 hospitalizations: Mar. 25
    - Date the state passed 100 COVID-19 patients: Apr. 5
    - Date with the highest patient count: Dec. 11 (363 patients, 38 per 100,000 population)

    Hospital capacity as of Dec. 13:
    - Inpatient beds: 72.7% occupied (13.3% with COVID-19 patients)
    - ICU beds: 83.9% occupied (8.6% with COVID-19 patients)

    Hospital staffing shortages as of Dec. 13:
    - Current staffing shortage: 1 hospitals out of 16 (6.3%)
    - Anticipating a shortage in the next week: 3 hospitals (18.8%)

    Gov. John Carney estimated that the state’s hospitals can handle between 400-500 COVID-19 patients. According to reporting from Delaware Online, if hospitalizations continue to increase at the same rate they have since Nov. 25, in a little over two weeks more than 400 COVID-19 patients could be hospitalized. While Delaware hospitals could make more space by setting up field hospitals, the main concern is staffing shortages.

  • Florida

    Hospitalization records:
    - First reported COVID-19 hospitalizations: Jul. 10
    - Date the state passed 100 COVID-19 patients: Jul. 10
    - Date the state passed 1,000 COVID-19 patients: Jul. 10
    - Date with the highest patient count: Jul. 21 (9,520 patients, 46 per 100,000 population)

    Hospital capacity as of Dec. 13:
    - Inpatient beds: 75.5% occupied (9.1% with COVID-19 patients)
    - ICU beds: 79.8% occupied (4.3% with COVID-19 patients)

    Hospital staffing shortages as of Dec. 13:
    - Current staffing shortage: 9 hospitals out of 269 (3.3%)
    - Anticipating a shortage in the next week: 29 hospitals (10.8%)

    On Dec. 1, Florida officially reached over one million COVID-19 cases. Cindy Krischer Goodman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that the CEO of the Florida Hospital Association says most of the state’s hospitals have developed plans to quickly respond to a surge in patients.

  • Georgia

    Hospitalization records:
    - First reported COVID-19 hospitalizations: May. 1
    - Date the state passed 100 COVID-19 patients: May. 1
    - Date the state passed 1,000 COVID-19 patients: May. 1
    - Date with the highest patient count: Dec. 13 (3,237 patients, 31 per 100,000 population)

    Hospital capacity as of Dec. 13:
    - Inpatient beds: 79.3% occupied (14.6% with COVID-19 patients)
    - ICU beds: 88.4% occupied (6.5% with COVID-19 patients)

    Hospital staffing shortages as of Dec. 13:
    - Current staffing shortage: 32 hospitals out of 171 (18.7%)
    - Anticipating a shortage in the next week: 39 hospitals (22.8%)

    Georgia’s large health care systems are seeing increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Emory Healthcare, an 11-hospital system in Atlanta, has watched its number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients double from the beginning of November to the end of the month. Hospital CEOs from across the state reported that they’ve also been facing greater demand from non-COVID-19 patients. On Dec. 2, 26 hospitals, including large hospitals, had to turn away new ICU patients.

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