Majority of U.S. States Have 80 Percent or More ICU Beds in Use Amid Omicron Surge

A majority of U.S. states currently have 80 percent or more intensive care unit (ICU) beds in use as the COVID-19 Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the nation.

Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) showed that at least 28 states currently have 80 percent or more ICU beds currently in use. According to the data, Rhode Island is currently seeing the highest percentage of ICU beds in use as 95.68 beds are currently occupied. The data also showed that in Rhode Island, COVID-19 patients currently account for 42.45 percent of ICU beds in use.

New Mexico and Kentucky are following closely behind Rhode Island as they both have at least 90 percent of ICU beds currently occupied. According to the data, in New Mexico, 37 percent of ICU beds are being used by COVID-19 patients, while COVID-19 patients in Kentucky account for 30 percent of ICU beds in use.

The other states that have 80 percent or more ICU beds in use include Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The data showed that several other states had 70 percent or more ICU beds in use and only four states had below this mark, which included Hawaii, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota.

The number of states seeing a high percentage of ICU beds in use comes as the COVID-19 Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the nation. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. is currently averaging around 674,406 new COVID-19 cases per day. In comparison, in early December, the nation was averaging around 108,000 new cases per day.

Data from the CDC also showed that the Omicron variant now accounts for a majority of new COVID-19 cases. Health officials have recently said that preliminary information showed that the Omicron variant is less severe than the Delta variant.

"The only difficulty is that if you have so many cases, even if the rate of hospitalization is lower with Omicron than it is with Delta, there is still the danger that you will have a surging of hospitalizations that might stress the healthcare system," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, said during an interview with CNN last week.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky made similar comments during an interview with Fox News this past weekend, but noted "given the volume of cases that we're with Omicron, we very well may see death rates rise dramatically."

Newsweek reached out to the HHS for comment.

ICU bed usage
A majority of U.S. states currently have 80 percent or more ICU beds in use as COVID-19 cases surge across the nation. Here, a medical worker tends to a patient who has COVID-19 in a negative pressure room in the ICU ward at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts on January 4. Joseph Prezioso/Getty