Hospital beds are full – but not with COVID-19 patients

When COVID-19 hospitalizations reached 433 in January, hospitals were so short on space that they treated some patients in hallways and sent others to neighboring states. But even as the number of COVID-19 patients has plummeted, hospital beds are still in high demand.

As of Sunday, the most recent data available, only 10% of regular beds and 20% of intensive care beds were available in the state, according to data tracking from the Department of Health and Human Services ( /dashboard/hospitals.) In some parts of the state, those numbers were even lower.

The reasons are many and the impact varies from hospital to hospital.

Asked about the causes of the high occupancy rates, health care officials across the state cited a variety of factors, from workforce challenges to more local options for specialty care that once required travel. in Boston. A hospital spokesperson cited an increase in behavioral health patients. Notably, the issue that attracts the most attention and blame, delayed care, was not on their lists.

While they see patients who are sicker because they postponed care during the pandemic, they said there was no reliable data to quantify how often this is happening.

“Things that someone would have reported that could lead to hospitalization, like heart failure, fluid management, diabetes management, or vascular issues, are really hard to timestamp because they kind of happen at one time or another,” Dr. Kevin said. Desrosiers, chief medical officer at the Elliot Hospital in Manchester. “And it’s hard to know whether this is the result of a chronic lack of management or just an acute event.”

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