Khera R, et al. medRxiv 2020.
BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) is a global pandemic, with the potential to infect nearly 60% of the population. The anticipated spread of the virus requires an urgent appraisal of the capacity of US healthcare services and the identification of states most vulnerable to exceeding their capacity Methods: In the American Hospital Association survey for 2018, a database of US community hospitals, we identified total inpatient beds, adult intensive care unit (ICU) beds, and airborne isolation rooms across all hospitals in each state of continental US. The burden of COVID-19 hospitalizations was estimated based on a median hospitalization duration of 12 days and was evaluated for a 30-day reporting period.
RESULTS: At 5155 US community hospitals across 48 states in the contiguous US and Washington DC, there were a total of 788,032 inpatient beds, 68,280 adult ICU beds, and 44,222 isolation rooms. The median daily bed occupancy was 62.8% (IQR 58.1%, 66.6%) across states. Nationally, for every 10,000 individuals, there are 24.2 inpatient beds, 2.8 adult ICU beds, and 1.4 isolation beds. There is a 3-fold variation in the number of inpatient beds available across the US, ranging from 16.4 per 10,000 in Oregon to 47 per 10,000 in South Dakota. There was also a similar 3-fold variation in available or non-occupied beds, ranging from 4.7 per 10,000 in Connecticut through 18.3 per 10,000 in North Dakota. The availability of ICU beds is low nationally, ranging from 1.4 per 10,000 in Nevada to 4.7 per 10000 in Washington DC. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in a median 0.2% (IQR 0.2 %, 0.3%) of state population, or 1.4% of state's older adults (1.0%, 1.9%) will require all non-occupied beds. Further, a median 0.6% (0.5%, 0.8%) of state population, or 3.9% (3.1%, 4.6%) of older individuals would require 100% of inpatient beds.
CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to overwhelm the limited number of inpatient and ICU beds for the US population. Hospitals in half of US states would exceed capacity if less than 0.2% of the state population requires hospitalization in any given month.