Hospitals Are Dangerously Full in These 7 States
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, public health officials have warned that coronavirus surges could overwhelm hospitals, preventing both COVID-19 patients and people with other urgent medical issues from getting the care they need. One important metric is the availability of beds in intensive-care units. As the number of COVID cases has surged nationwide in recent weeks, those life-saving beds are overflowing in some areas. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data analyzed by the New York Times, these are seven states where COVID hotspots have filled ICUs. Read on to see which ones, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
According to the COVID Tracking Project, as of Thursday, Cullman, Alabama, has the most overbooked ICUs in the country, at 131% capacity. Ashland is #3, with 115%. Two more localities are overflowing: Boaz (106%) and Foley (101%). On Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey extended the state's public mask mandate for six weeks. "The facts are indisputable," she said. "Our cases continue to rise. We have more Alabamians diagnosed with COVID-19 than ever before."
The capital, Santa Fe, is grappling with overburdened ICUs: As of Thursday, they're 116% occupied, the second-highest capacity in the nation. Statewide, hospitals have activated "crisis care," suspending nonessential surgeries and allowing doctors to determine which patients receive care based on who is most likely to survive. The number of New Mexicans hospitalized for COVID-19 is three times what it was in November. "We are serving every New Mexican who needs us," Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said Thursday. "But we are getting to a place where it's really dire, and we have to do better."
In Baton Rouge, ICU capacity is at 109%. In at least three cities—Leonardtown, Marshall and Hillsdale—ICUs are completely booked. On Thursday, Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state was experiencing a third surge of coronavirus that was the most dangerous yet. The statewide positivity rate has risen to 10.7%, the highest since July and August.
ICU beds are completely spoken for in several localities in Pennsylvania. In three areas, the capacity is over 100%: Upland (106%), Easton (104%) and Abingdon (102%). Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has responded to a post-Thanksgiving surge of COVID in the state by introducing new restrictions, shutting down indoor dining and in-person entertainment venues.
In Coral Gables, Lake City, Marianna, Niceville, Pompano Beach and Port St. Lucie, ICU beds were at 100% capacity as of Thursday. The state health department reported 135 deaths on Thursday, approaching the state's daily peak of 185 on Aug. 2.
In several areas of the state, ICUs are full or nearly full. As of Thursday, ICU beds are at 100% capacity in Abilene, Bedford and Temple. In Wichita Falls, Irving and Katy, they're 99% occupied. El Paso is at 97% capacity. On Dec. 9, the state health department tweeted, "Hospitalizations in many areas remain dangerously high. New cases are surging and fatalities are rising."
In Hibbing and Winona, ICU beds are well over capacity—at 114% and 111%, respectively, the fourth and fifth most overbooked ICUs in the country. Five more Minnesota cities—St. Cloud, Glenwood, Bemidji, Waconia and Wilmar—say their ICUs are 100% full. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, only 8% of ICU beds were empty statewide as of Dec. 10.
How to Survive This Pandemic
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.