Increase in Hospital Bed Use Tied to COVID-19 Deaths in Seven Days

1 percent increase in ICU bed use tied to more than twofold increase in COVID-19 deaths in seven days

Hospital patient

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 26, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Intensive care unit (ICU) and non-ICU bed use as a percentage of a state's hospital bed capacity is significantly associated with an increase in overall COVID-19 deaths during the next seven days, according to a study published online Aug. 19 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Pinar Karaca-Mandic, Ph.D., from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management in Minneapolis, and colleagues quantified the association of daily ICU and non-ICU hospital use by COVID-19 patients on overall COVID-19 mortality using data from the University of Minnesota COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project. The analysis included daily data (1,056 observations) on current COVID-19 hospitalized patients in ICU and non-ICU beds in 23 states from March 20 to June 4, 2020.

The researchers found that average COVID-19-related ICU use was 19.6 percent, while non-ICU use was 5.5 percent. The base model showed that a 1 percentage point increase in ICU bed use (approximately 17 ICU beds) was associated with an increase of 2.84 more COVID-19 deaths during the next seven days. A 1 percentage point increase in non-ICU bed use (approximately 130 non-ICU beds) was associated with 17.84 more COVID-19 deaths.

"These estimates provide a better understanding of the projections of the COVID-19 pandemic in the USA especially when states are gearing up to restart economic activities and provide important practice insights for hospitals in terms of assessment of hospital bed and ICU bed capacity and preparedness," the authors write.

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