With hospitalizations climbing, NC sees rise in percentage of beds filled by COVID-19 patients

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More than 3.5 percent of hospital beds in North Carolina are being occupied by a patient with COVID-19, a CBS17.com data analysis found.

With single-day highs for hospitalizations set on five consecutive days last week and the total increasing by 35 Monday to a near-high of 870, CBS17.com compared the percentage of beds in the state currently filled by coronavirus patients and compared that to the rest of the nation.

Of the 46 states that provided their current hospitalization numbers to the COVID Tracking Project, North Carolina ranks 19th with 3.74 percent of its 23,289 beds taken by COVID-19 patients.

That’s a lower percentage than some of the states in the region: Georgia is at 4.19 percent, Virginia is at 4.87 percent, Maryland is at 5.63 percent and South Carolina is at 5.93 percent.

The national leader is Arizona, which has 14.48 percent of its beds occupied by someone with COVID-19. That state is in the middle of a coronavirus surge of five consecutive days with more than 2,000 new cases reported.

In North Carolina, data from the Department of Health and Human Services show hospitals were 76 percent full Monday — not just with COVID-19 patients, but for those with all conditions — and there were 4,120 open beds. 

But that number of open beds has fallen by 11.3 percent over the past week, with that number at 4,643 last Monday.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have surged in the state lately: In the 13-day period that started June 7 and ended Saturday, the single-day high for people in the hospital was set 10 times — including five days in a row from last Tuesday to Saturday, when it crested at 883.

And in six of the past seven days, the hospitalization total showed a daily net increase of at least 11 patients.

“That number has been increasing every week also, and that’s very worrisome because that really is a true indication of what’s going on in our population,” said Pia MacDonald, an epidemiologist at RTI International.

The CBS17.com calculation for each state’s total bed count used numbers from the American Hospital Directory’s database. For North Carolina, that count differs from the one published by DHHS, which lists 21,222 licensed hospital beds.

Four states — Florida, Hawaii, Idaho and Kansas — did not provide single-day hospitalization data, according to the COVID Tracking Project, which compiles numbers from each state’s public health agency. 

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