Half of COVID Hospitalizations in the U.S. Are in These 8 States
If you live in these states, your local ICU is likely filled with COVID patients.
Just as we thought we were nearing the end of COVID's wrath, the virus began to surge again as the more contagious Delta variant became the dominant strain across the U.S. Experts continue to urge people to take precautionary actions, such as getting vaccinated and wearing a mask. But as many resist, COVID cases continue to climb. Although the country as a whole is struggling to contain the spread of the virus, a handful of states are experiencing the worst of it.
On Aug. 13, CNN reported that data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that just eight states currently account for half—about 51 percent—of COVID-related hospitalizations in the U.S. For reference, these states' populations only make up 23 percent of the country's total, CNN pointed out. First responders throughout these states are trying to manage an overwhelming demand and in some of these areas, hospital beds are becoming scarce once again.
Read on to find out which eight states are seeing the most COVID-related hospitalizations and for a breakdown of their numbers, according to The New York Times data.
Daily average of hospitalizations in the last seven days: 2,291
WSFA 12 News, an NBC affiliate, reported that Alabama State Health Officer Scott Harris, MD, said multiple times that the rise in cases and hospitalizations in the state is "unprecedented." He also noted that the death toll is on the rise again, reaching double-digits, which the state hasn't seen in months.
Daily average of hospitalizations in the last seven days: 1,294
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison wrote in a tweet on Aug. 9 that the state "saw the largest single-day increase in hospitalizations" and surpassed the previous record number of COVID hospitalizations. "There are currently only eight ICU beds available in the state," he said.
On Aug. 11, Arkansas broke its own record for most hospitalizations in a day for the third day in a row. "Over half of our ICU beds are occupied by COVID patients. You really can't plan on efficient operations when half of anything is taken up by one disease process," University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Chief Medical Officer Rawle Seupaul, MD, told 4029 News.
However, as of Aug. 12, numbers have started to improve, but it's still not a good situation in Arkansas.
Daily average of hospitalizations in the last seven days: 14,655
"In the past week, Florida has had more COVID cases than all 30 states with the lowest case rates combined," White House COVID response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Aug. 12 during a White House briefing. He pointed out that Florida and Texas alone account for nearly 40 percent of new COVID-related hospitalizations across the country.
CNN reported on Aug. 12 that the Brevard County Fire Rescue Chief Mark Schollmeyer asked residents to only use 9-1-1 "for non-emergent issues and to save the ambulances and ER trips for those who urgently need those services." And it's not the only state to issue that warning.
Daily average of hospitalizations in the last seven days: 3,883
Georgia has hospitals full of COVID patients with a limited number of nurses to assist them. Matt Caseman, CEO of the Georgia Nurses Association, told Georgia Health News that the nursing shortage in the state is worse than ever, with many of them "depressed, angry, [and] frustrated" as they work their fourth COVID surge. "We're hearing they can't take it anymore," said Caseman.
Georgia Health News reported that on Aug. 11, more than 40 hospitals in the state were experiencing severe emergency room crowding. Many of the hospitals also had overflowing ICUs, forcing them to divert patients.
Daily average of hospitalizations in the last seven days: 2,491
On Aug. 12, Louisiana reported its highest number of COVID hospitalizations since the beginning of the pandemic.
The state has also seen the largest increase in new cases over the past two weeks, according to The New York Times data as of Aug. 13. "The situation is especially dire in Louisiana," the outlet reported.
Daily average of hospitalizations in the last seven days: 1,455
Mississippi broke its record for COVID hospitalizations, intensive-care use, and new COVID cases on Aug. 12, the AP reported. The state saw a 26 percent increase in new cases just from Tuesday to Thursday. Mississippi State Health Officer Thomas Dobbs, MD, said, "Let us be very clear that the vast majority of cases and hospitalizations and deaths are unvaccinated," according to the AP.
The Mississippi Department of Health wrote in a tweet on Aug. 12 that "of the nearly 1,500 now in a hospital for COVID-19, more than 1,300 are unvaccinated."
Daily average of hospitalizations in the last seven days: 1,131
On Aug. 3, the AP reported that the Delta variant and Nevada's slowed vaccination rate had caused hospitalization rates to surge in the state past the numbers from summer 2020. "Now, hospitals have more COVID-19 patients than during a previous surge last summer," they said.
According to an Aug. 11 report from the Nevada Hospital Association, hospitalizations are currently slowing in the southern portion of the state, but climbing in the northern part.
Daily average of hospitalizations in the last seven days: 10,031
The New York Times reported that at least two hospitals in Houston, Texas were forced to create overflow tents for patients, and hospitals in Austin, Texas are nearly out of beds in their ICUs. "If this continues, and I have no reason to believe that it will not, there is no way my hospital is going to be able to handle this. There is no way the region is going to be able to handle this," Esmaeil Porsa, MD, a top health official in Harris County, Texas, said during a Senate committee meeting on Aug. 12. "I am one of those people that always sees the glass half-full. I always see the silver lining. But I am frightened by what is coming."