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See where hospital ICU beds in California are filling up fastest with COVID-19 patients

BY PHILLIP REESE
APRIL 06, 2020 12:40 PM, UPDATED 2 HOURS 28 MINUTES AGO

Sutter Roseville Medical Center staff practice their response to a potential patient surge related to infectious respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, on Wednesday, March 4, 2020, by setting up triage tents and wearing protective equipment. BY PAUL KITAGAKI JR.
California’s intensive care hospital beds are filling up with COVID-19 cases.



About 1,085 confirmed and 575 suspected COVID-19 patients were under treatment in California’s ICUs on Sunday, according to the latest figures from the California Department of Public Health.

That’s the equivalent of roughly 22 percent of the state’s licensed hospital ICU beds, excluding ICU beds for newborn children.

On a typical day, about 58 percent of the state’s ICU beds are occupied by patients needing treatment. Although the exact number of ICU beds currently in use was not released, the increase in COVID-19 cases suggests that about 80 percent of the ICU beds in California may now be filled.

ICU patients often need to make use of mechanical ventilators. Gov. Gavin Newsom said recently that ICU bed counts are “the number that I wake up to that I’m most focused on in the state of California.”

ICU BEDS OCCUPIED BY COVID-19 PATIENTS 

About 22% of the state's licensed ICU beds are filled with COVID-19 patients. Those beds are typically about 58% full with other patients, leaving fewer beds for more COVID-19 cases.

Among heavily-populated counties, San Mateo County has the highest proportion of ICU beds — 31 percent — occupied by suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. Los Angeles (30%), San Joaquin (26%), Ventura (28%) and Riverside (28%) counties followed close behind. Suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients occupied about 13 percent of Sacramento County’s ICU beds on Sunday.

The California Department of Public Health is releasing daily figures on the number of ICU beds occupied by confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients. The Bee took those figures and compared them to data showing the number of licensed ICU beds and ICU bed occupancy in each county.

The results come with caveats. Some counties may have added ICU beds in the very recent past due to the COVID-19 crisis, improving their ICU capacity beyond the latest licensed bed statistics. Some suspected COVID-19 cases may actually have other conditions that would have landed them in the ICU regardless of the current outbreak. Some licensed ICU beds may be inactive.

Phillip Reese is a data specialist at The Sacramento Bee and teaches at Sacramento State: 916-321-1137.
FOLLOW MORE OF OUR REPORTING ON CORONAVIRUS IN CALIFORNIA

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