Hospitals have not been this full since omicron's height: 5 notes on capacity

More than 80 percent of the nation's hospital beds are in use, the highest rate throughout the pandemic, according to a CNN analysis of HHS data. 

COVID-19, however, is hardly the sole factor straining hospital capacity. 

"The rates are higher because we are seeing many patients with the flu season in many parts of the country, and that has brought a lot of older adults and some young children into the hospitals," Nancy Foster, vice president of quality and safety at the American Hospital Association, told the news outlet in a Dec. 9 report. "Additionally, RSV is filling many pediatric beds and cribs." 

Care delays from earlier in the year and the inability to make timely discharges due to workforce shortages at post-acute facilities are other factors pushing up bed use, she said. 

Five notes on hospital capacity, as outlined by CNN's analysis: 

1. In the past two weeks, hospital bed use has jumped 8 percentage points to reach 80 percent. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, this figure has hovered above 70 percent for most of the time. However, it has only reached 80 percent at one other point, which was at the height of the omicron surge in January. 

2. In January, about 25 percent of beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients. Now, about 6 percent are in use for COVID-19 patients. 

3. About 10 percent of hospitals were reporting a critical staff shortage as of Dec. 8. 

4. In Rhode Island, more than 90 percent of beds were in use as of Dec. 8. More than 85 percent were full in the following states: Washington, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Georgia, Missouri, West Virginia and Oregon. 

5. Overall, about 76 percent of pediatric beds are in use, up from an average of about 66 percent in recent years. 


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