Local News

NC hospital occupancy trending in right direction

Posted February 8, 2021 5:38 p.m. EST
Updated February 8, 2021 6:45 p.m. EST

North Carolina has reported almost 800,000 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.

And the death toll continues to rise, some days at alarming rates.

However, hospital capacity in North Carolina appears to be improving.

Health officials say morbidity rates and strains on hospital systems are two ways to best track COVID spread and severity. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has described those metrics as "the burden of the disease," so WRAL keeps an eye on federal data that tracks hospital capacity and occupancy rates, especially pertaining to COVID-19 patients.

This week, North Carolina hospitals are reporting a thousand fewer patients than they did in mid-January.

The Atlantic uses federal data in an interactive tool showing how much stress the virus is putting on health care systems. The size of the circles shows how many COVID patients are in each hospital, and the intensity of the hue depicts the percentage of patients hospitalized who have the coronavirus.

According to the Atlantic, Duke and WakeMed have fewer patients than they did a few weeks ago. Hospitals in the Triangle are faring better than some others in the state. North Carolina hospitals, as a whole, are significantly less stressed than neighboring South Carolina and Georgia.

That doesn't mean local hospitals have an abundance of beds. ICU occupancy rates remain an issue. Duke is currently at 100% capacity for intensive care beds.

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