As the coronavirus pandemic accelerates across the United States, conditions could worsen on the West Coast, in the Northeast and in the Mid-Atlantic states over the next several weeks, according to a new forecast from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Policy Lab.
The CHOP Policy Lab will begin releasing weekly findings from its COVID-Lab county-level forecasts on the pandemic, the lab said Wednesday on its website. It noted that hospitalizations, ICU admissions and ventilator use are now rising in all 50 states.
Growing cases: The model is predicting “substantial growth” in Covid-19 cases over the next four weeks in the northeast and south through the mid-Atlantic region, “where dire trends previously seen in the Midwest have now set in,” the lab said. The forecast noted that mitigation efforts in and around New York City and Boston have “slowed but not abated” an increase in hospitalizations and ICU admissions in the cities.
The CHOP Policy Lab forecast is also projecting “significant case growth” along the West Coast in major cities in California, as well as in Portland and Seattle into mid-December.
Fast-filling ICU beds: “In every Midwestern state, COVID-19 patients are occupying more than 25% of ICU beds,” the lab reported.
In four states — Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota — coronavirus patients have filled up 50% or more of all available ICU beds. “We suspect that in many localities across these states, ICUs are near, at or over capacity,” the forecast said.
The forecast also noted that in Wisconsin, one of the earliest states to see an explosive growth in Covid-19 cases this fall, may be nearing a peak in transmissions, but hospitalizations and ICU admissions have not yet stabilized.
At least half of the 819 counties in the lab’s forecast are seeing a testing positivity rate of 9%, a measure of how prevalent positive coronavirus cases are compared to the number of tests administered.