23 States Have 80 Percent or More ICU Beds in Use As COVID Cases Rise

Twenty-three U.S. states currently have 80 percent or more intensive care unit (ICU) beds in use as COVID-19 cases rise across the nation.

According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the states with 80 percent or more ICU beds in use include Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington.

Five of the 23 states that had the highest ICU bed usage included Kentucky (88.22 percent), New Mexico (89.74 percent), New Hampshire (88.26 percent) and Rhode Island (88.28 percent).

In a statement sent to Newsweek, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Health said that the rise in ICU bed utilization in the state is something officials address at their weekly press conferences.

"New Mexico has far fewer hospital beds per population than most states," the statement added.

These five states have also seen a rise in COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks. In Kentucky, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows that as of December 17, the state was averaging 2,111 new daily cases per week. In comparison, on November 16, the state was averaging around 1,280 new daily cases per week.

Similar trends were seen in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, according to data from the CDC. In New Mexico, there were over 2,400 new cases recorded on December 17, while CDC data showed 1,523 new cases on November 17.

The data from HHS also shows ICU bed usage for patients that have tested positive for COVID-19. According to the data at least six states had 35 percent or more ICU beds in use for COVID-19 patients. These states include Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Mexico and New Hampshire.

Overall, COVID-19 cases have increased across the U.S. as the nation is currently averaging 125,775 new daily cases per week. In comparison, on November 17, the nation was averaging below 90,000 new daily cases per week.

The ICU usage data comes as the COVID-19 Omicron variant has continued to spread throughout the U.S. and has now been detected in a majority of U.S. states, according to the CDC.

During a recent interview with CNN's State of the Union, Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said that the Omicron variant, which was first identified in South Africa, is "going to take over."

"And be prudent in everything else you do: When you travel in your indoor settings that are congregated, wear a mask, Fauci said. "Because with Omicron, that we're dealing with, it is going to be a tough few weeks to months as we get deeper into the winter."

In response to the rise in COVID-19 cases and spread of the Omicron variant, a number of states and cities have reimposed COVID-19 mitigation strategies, such as mask requirements in indoor public spaces.

Newsweek reached out to the health departments in New Hampshire, Kentucky and Rhode Island for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

At least 23 states have 80 percent or more ICU beds in use as COVID-19 cases rise across the nation. Above, a nurse enters a Covid-19 patient's room inside the ICU (intensive care unit) at Adventist Health in Sonora, California on August 27, 2021. Nic Coury/Getty