The number of hospitals reporting full ICUs has fallen by nearly 50% since early January

Aleszu Bajak, USA TODAY
·2 min read

Detailed data released this week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services illustrates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s hospitals.

From Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, Washington, to Sibley Memorial Center in Washington, D.C., USA TODAY found 175 hospitals reporting full intensive care units as of Feb. 25. A total of 302 hospitals reported more COVID-19 patients in the ICU compared with the previous week, and 493 had more COVID-19 patients overall.

Though still dire, these numbers have fallen drastically since the beginning of the year. The number of hospitals reporting full intensive care units has fallen by nearly 50% since early January, a USA TODAY analysis of HHS data shows. And the number of hospitals reporting intensive care units full of patients confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19 has fallen from 35 to four since the week of Jan. 8-14.

This data, reported by more than 4,500 hospitals, does not include hospitals run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Defense Health Agency and Indian Health Service. Figures from some small hospitals have been removed from the HHS data set.

See which hospitals in your community are being overwhelmed by entering search terms below.

HHS began reporting individual hospital occupancy rates in December, including detailed statistics for intensive care units. Hospitals whose intensive care units were at or above capacity the second week of February are shown in the map below.

The COVID-19 rate is the number of adult patients confirmed or suspected of being infected divided by the number of inpatient beds that would be allowed under normal limits on space and staffing. Occupancy can exceed 100% if a hospital exceeds those limits.

Intensive care units are filling up disproportionately in counties in Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Texas and Alabama, the data shows. Of the 131 counties nationwide with average hospital ICU occupancy above 90%, more than half are in the South, according to USA TODAY’s analysis.

Contributing: Mike Stucka, USA TODAY. Aleszu Bajak is on Twitter at @aleszubajak or can be emailed at abajak@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID-19 pushes hospitals over capacity: searchable database