4 States Are Running Out of ICU Beds As COVID Hospitalizations Spike

  • Hospitals in four states — Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Texas — are running out of ICU beds. 
  • In Alabama, ICUs were running beyond maximum capacity, with 1,621 patients in need of beds, but only 1,537 available.
  • The US is battling a fresh COVID-19 wave and seeing more than 100,000 COVID hospitalizations a day.

US hospitals are under strain as COVID-19 cases rise, primarily among the unvaccinated. Four states — Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Texas — were running out of intensive care unit (ICU) beds, with more than 90% occupancy rates, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Tuesday.

However, the situation may be more dire than it seems, as the Alabama Hospital Association said Tuesday that hospitals have run out of ICU beds, reported Alabama television station WSFA. It said there were 1,621 patients in need of ICU beds statewide, but only 1,537 beds available, leaving patients in need waiting in emergency rooms or hospital hallways.

“I think our situation is going to worsen in the coming days and it’s unfortunate because people didn’t get vaccinated when they had the opportunity,” Dr. Don Williamson, the president of the association, told the station. 

Meanwhile, Georgia, Florida, and Texas each had fewer than 10% of ICU beds left on Tuesday. Florida is recording the most COVID-19 hospitalizations, with more than 16,000 hospitalizations recorded daily in the past week, according to the New York Times tracker.

As a whole, the US has been seeing more than 100,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations a day in the past week according to The Times tracker. Daily COVID-19-related hospitalizations have not been this high since February, according to The Times.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said unvaccinated people were 29 times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated people. It also found that unvaccinated individuals were 4.9 times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than unvaccinated people.

The US has fully vaccinated 52% of its population, the Times tracker indicates. But southern states like Alabama, Georgia, and Texas are seeing below-average vaccination rates, at 38%, 41%, and 47% respectively, according to the Times tracker. The only exception among the four states with critical ICU bed capacities is Florida, which has a 53% vaccination rate, the Times tracker shows. 

The United States has recorded more than 39 million COVID-19 cases and over 640,000 deaths since the pandemic started, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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