ICU Capacity Still Low at Local Hospitals

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Available medical and ICU beds at local hospitals took a hit during the month of December, new data from the Ohio Center for Journalism show.

The center’s Eye on Ohio nonprofit newsroom released updated hospital capacity and equipment records Tuesday, based on information provided by the Ohio Department of Health. The SurgeNet records update the information released at the beginning of the month through Dec. 18.

Intensive care capacity continues to be low throughout Mahoning Valley hospitals. As of Dec. 18, Mercy Health’s St. Joseph Warren Hospital had zero adult ICU beds available.

St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital had just two available ICU beds, compared to 10 from a month ago. St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital and Steward Health Care’s Trumbull Regional Medical Center had the most ICU beds in the region at eight apiece.

In Columbiana County, ICU capacity at Salem Regional Medical Center and East Liverpool City Hospital remain largely the same from a month ago with each having four beds available.

Statewide graph for Adult ICU beds through Dec. 18

Statewide, there are 387 ICU beds available, down from 1,403 about a month ago. At the start of November, statewide capacity seemed to improve over the earlier fall months, though it’s been marked with a few sudden drops through November and December.

For example, the 387 reported Dec. 18 is down from 1,414 the day before.

Dr. James Kravec, chief clinical officer for Mercy Health-Youngstown, says the local Mercy hospitals “remain very busy” with COVID and non-COVID patients, as well as with ICU and non-ICU beds.

The hospitals saw a spike in cases around Thanksgiving, which was expected, and have likely already seen any fallout from that holiday, he says. Though he believes the messaging leading up to the holiday – residents celebrating within their households, wearing masks in public, minimizing contact with others and maintaining social distancing when possible – kept the numbers manageable.

“I think what we did helped to not have as large of a spike as it could have been,” Kravec says.

With Christmas three days away and New Year’s Eve shortly thereafter, Kravec urges residents to double-down on those guidelines, particularly with gatherings.

“Personally, my social calendar is empty,” Kravec says. “I have nothing on my calendar except for going to church on Christmas Eve.”

On Monday, the Ohio Department of Health reported 37 new admissions of COVID-19 patients to the ICU, bringing the cumulative total to 5,537. Currently, there are 1,164 patients with COVID-19 in ICU, 768 of whom are on a ventilator.

A searchable database on hospital capacity is posted at EyeOnOhio.com/what-will-it-take-to-flatten-the-curve. Included is information about the availability of PPE at hospitals. However, that data is missing for hospitals in the three-county region.

Future capacity updates will be posted as they become available.

Regarding the medical/surgical capacity at local hospitals as of Dec. 18, the database shows:

  • St. Elizabeth Youngstown: 68, up from 42 a month ago
  • St. Elizabeth Boardman: 24, down from 43 a month ago
  • St. Joseph Warren: 25, up from 13 a month ago
  • Trumbull Regional Medical Center: 67, down from 207 a month ago
  • East Liverpool City Hospital: 17, down from 66 a month ago
  • Salem Regional Medical Center: 37, down from 50 a month ago

As for the number of ventilators available as of Dec. 18, the database shows:

  • St. Elizabeth Youngstown: 26, down from 76 a month ago
  • St. Elizabeth Boardman: 11, up from 10 a month ago
  • St. Joseph Warren: six, down from nine a month ago
  • Trumbull Regional Medical Center: 30, down from 110 a month ago
  • East Liverpool City Hospital: 20
  • Salem Regional Medical Center: 23, down from 75 a month ago

Pictured: As of Dec. 18, St. Joseph Warren hospital had zero adult ICU beds available.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.