When we started building the Coronavirus Mapping Project we wanted to collect baseline data so that at some point we could help folks start to glean answers from that data. I think we’ve reached that point in Georgia. We have almost a month’s worth of case data. We’re starting to see reliable (ish) mortality data flow in. And finally we see hospital data.
Using this data, we wanted to start to put together some *very* basic trends of how many hospital beds the state has, how many positive infections we *think* there will be, and ultimately when the state runs out of beds.
To be clear, this is a very simple model use to demonstrate what could be done with this data. However, we do believe it’s based in some version of reality.
All of this being said, on the current trajectory, we think Georgia (as a state) will run out of beds on or before April 29, 2020. There are a few caveats / assumptions to explore below.
We assume a growth rate (day over day) of 20%. This is actually lower than what we’re seeing now (the last 5 days have an average growth of 32.2%).
We also assume that Gov. Kemp, who has not initiated a state wide “stay at home order” succumbs to pressure and initiates it on April 6th (that date is just a guess). Once that order is implemented, we modulate the growth rate down to 10%.
According to the American Hospital Association, GA has an estimated 24,000 hospital beds across 100 counties (the state has 159 counties in total).
The average nationwide occupancy rate is 69%. That is, for every 100 beds in the country right now, 69 are occupied for one reason or another. This is what makes the fight for hospital beds so tenuous. Just because the planet is being overridden by this damn virus, car accidents and other maladies don’t magically stop. People will still get sick and they will still go to the hospital.
Since the CDC has advised folks to stay away from hospitals until their shit is real, I’m going to assume this occupancy rate will be lower than normal. In fact, I’m assuming it’s 0% -- for simplicity and demonstration sake, my model predicts that every bed is filled with someone with COVID-19. In coming days and weeks, I’ll adjust that.
The other big assumption I’m doing is looking at the state as a whole. I recognize that some counties are in worse shape than others.
For example, Dougherty county in SW GA has 156 positive cases. If 1/3rd of those need hospitalization, that’s 52 people. In a county with 668 hospital beds, that’s nearly 10% of the beds going to COVID-19 patients. TODAY. If you run the numbers out, they will run out of beds in 9 days.
Clearly the big metros and occasional second tier cities are getting hit harder than most. So this means there will be a concentration of beds needed in big cities and available beds in smaller, more rural towns. I assume states will not utilize “reverse logistics” to send patients from overcrowded hospitals to rural hospitals. They’ll need to build temporary hospitals in gyms and football fields and convention centers. I am not accounting for that.
This model is simple and straight forward. And I hope it’s wrong. I hope that we don’t run out of beds. But at our current trajectory, and the inability of our country leaders to put public health above economic thinking, I don’t think I’ll be wrong.