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10 Worst States for COVID-19 ICU Bed Use

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Many COVID-19 pandemic intensity indicators look much worse now than they did three weeks ago.

One indicator that may indicate what will happen to mortality, and life insurance claims, is use of hospital intensive care unit (ICU) beds.

Changes in the number of new cases detected could be the result of new back-to-school and back-to-the-office testing programs. ICU beds, in contrast, are reserved only for the sickest COVID-19 patients, who tend to face a relatively high risk of dying.

At the state level, the median percentage of staffed, adult ICU beds occupied by patients with COVID-19 increased to 22% during the week ending Aug. 24, up from 10% for the week ending Aug. 3, according to data collected by the Data Strategy and Execution Workgroup, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The percentage stood at about 25% at the beginning of the year, as COVID-19 mortality was about to spike.

The percentage of adult staffed ICU beds occupied by patients with COVID-19  during the latest week ranged from just 5%, in New Jersey, up to 56%, in one state in the South.

For a look at the 10 states with the worst COVID-19 adult ICU bed occupancy percentages, see the slideshow above.

For COVID-19 ICU bed occupancy rates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, see the chart below.

Hospital Adult Intensive Care Unit Occupancy

(As of the week ending Aug. 24)
  Adult Staffed ICU Beds Occupied (in percent) Adult Staffed ICU Beds Occupied by COVID-19 Patients (in percent) Change in Staffed Adult ICU Beds Occupied by COVID-19 Patients, Since Previous Week

(in percentage points)

Alabama 96% 48% 6%
Alaska 80% 28% 8%
Arizona 61% 21% 3%
Arkansas 86% 45% 6%
California 79% 26% 4%
Colorado 72% 19% 4%
Connecticut 54% 8% 3%
Delaware 79% 16% 8%
District of Columbia 79% 8% 1%
Florida 91% 49% 3%
Georgia 91% 47% 6%
Hawaii 76% 34% 9%
Idaho 83% 42% 3%
Illinois 69% 13% 2%
Indiana 75% 22% 5%
Iowa 71% 17% 2%
Kansas 75% 26% 3%
Kentucky 87% 33% 11%
Louisiana 89% 50% 5%
Maine 76% 15% 3%
Maryland 71% 12% 2%
Massachusetts 75% 9% 3%
Michigan 75% 9% 1%
Minnesota 76% 16% 4%
Mississippi 89% 56% 6%
Missouri 88% 37% 0%
Montana 70% 21% -2%
Nebraska 75% 18% 5%
Nevada 86% 34% 0%
New Hampshire 61% 11% 4%
New Jersey 42% 5% 1%
New Mexico 82% 30% 3%
New York 65% 8% 1%
North Carolina 85% 34% 5%
North Dakota 62% 8% 2%
Ohio 71% 14% 4%
Oklahoma 88% 41% 4%
Oregon 76% 26% 4%
Pennsylvania 79% 11% 3%
Rhode Island 82% 12% 4%
South Carolina 84% 38% 7%
South Dakota 58% 15% 4%
Tennessee 79% 34% 6%
Texas 94% 49% 5%
Utah 69% 25% 1%
Vermont 74% 11% 2%
Virginia 71% 17% 3%
Washington 76% 27% 4%
West Virginia 76% 23% 6%
Wisconsin 63% 16% 3%
Wyoming 47% 22% 5%
MEDIAN 76% 22% 4%
Source: HHS

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(Photo: hxdbzxy/Shutterstock)