Demand for ICU Beds Is Forecast to Peak in These States Within 7 Days

Current COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. hit another record high on Tuesday at 131,195, according to data compiled by The Atlantic's The COVID Tracking Project.

The number of intensive care unit (ICU) hospital beds needed is predicted to hit a peak in less than a week in at least a handful of states. The number of hospital beds needed across the country is projected to peak in just over a week, reaching around 185,435 on January 15, according to the latest forecast by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

Here we look at the projected number of ICU beds needed in four states that reported the highest average daily cases per 100,000 people in the past week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

All ICU bed data below is sourced from the IHME.

Arizona

  • ICU beds available: 508
  • Projected peak date for ICU bed demand: January 10
  • ICU beds projected to be needed at peak date: around 1,211

The projected number of ICU beds needed in Arizona overtook the number available from early December, according to the IHME.

Current COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state have been increasing on a sharp incline since early October, after declining sharply from mid-July, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.

In the past seven days, Arizona reported the country's highest average daily cases per 100,000 people, according to the CDC.

The average case count reached a record high of 9,453 on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

Rhode Island

  • ICU beds available: 42
  • Projected peak date for ICU bed demand: January 7
  • ICU beds projected to be needed at peak date: around 79

The projected number of ICU beds needed in Rhode Island surpassed the number available from early December, according to the IHME.

Current coronavirus hospitalizations in Rhode Island declined sharply from early May to early July, before rising on a steep incline from early October, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

In the past week, Rhode Island reported the country's second-highest number of deaths per 100,000 people, according to the CDC.

The state's seven-day average of cases hit a record high on Tuesday at 1,476, according to data compiled by JHU.

Tennessee

  • ICU beds available: 629
  • Projected peak date for ICU bed demand: January 9
  • ICU beds projected to be needed at peak date: around 1,513

The projected number of ICU beds needed in Tennessee has been exceeding the number available from early December, according to the IHME.

The state's count of current COVID-19 hospitalizations has been rising sharply since late September, after dropping from late July, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

The average case tally in Tennessee peaked in mid-December at 9,627 on December 15, according to JHU.

Arkansas

  • ICU beds available: 395
  • Projected peak date for ICU bed demand: January 8
  • ICU beds projected to be needed at peak date: around 403

The number of ICU beds needed in Arkansas is projected to overtake the number available on Wednesday, according to the IHME.

Current coronavirus hospitalizations in the state have been steadily rising throughout the outbreak from late March, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

The state's average infection count hit a record high of 2,806 on January 2, according to JHU.

Arizona hospital patient emergency room May 2020
A patient being transported to the emergency room of a hospital in Tuba City, Arizona on May 24, 2020. Arizona is among the handful of states where the number of intensive care unit beds needed is projected to hit a peak in less than a week. Getty Images

The wider picture

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 85.8 million people, including just over 20.8 million in the U.S., since it was first reported in Wuhan, China.

More than 1.8 million people have died worldwide and more than 48.3 million have recovered as of Wednesday, according to JHU.

The graphic below, produced by Statista, shows states' COVID-19 vaccinations administered per 100 people in the U.S.

U.S. COVID vaccinations by state
STATISTA

The graphic below, produced by Statista, shows the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S.

COVID-19 spread in U.S.
STATISTA