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83% of U.S. hospital ICU beds occupied as COVID-19 cases keep rising

By Simon Druker
83% of U.S. hospital ICU beds occupied as COVID-19 cases keep rising
Manufacturing tech Delaysia Henry gets packets of blood ready at the Red Cross donation center in St. Louis for shipment to a hospital on Wednesday. As of Friday, Missouri hospitals had less than 15% of their intensive-care units available.  Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Hospital ICU beds across the United States reached 83% percent capacity Friday, as cases of the highly contagious COVID-19 Omicron variant continued to surge.

At least 80% of staffed hospital beds are occupied in 24 states, and 19 states have less than 15% capacity remaining in their ICUs, according to Becker's Hospital Review.

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Close to 32% of intensive-care unit hospitalizations were related to the virus, as of Friday.

Seven hospitals in different states said Friday they are closing departments or ending services because of capacity and staffing issues.

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The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 reached 151,261 on Wednesday, a record high.

Last week, hospitals began recruiting international nurses to fill the staffing voids.

Rhode Island had the most intensive-care beds in use on Friday, while Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont had less than 15% capacity remaining.

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Wyoming has the fewest ICU beds in use, with a 41.15% occupancy rate.

At 52.23%, New Jersey is the only other state with less than 60% of ICU beds in use.

Kentucky's hospitals have less than 10% capacity remaining in their intensive-care units.

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"I've already had to call out the National Guard. And that next person in a car accident might not get the care they need. So get vaccinated for that person," Gov. Andy Beshear said during a Thursday news conference.

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