COLUMBUS — The hospital bed data that the state battled in court to keep private became available to the public Wednesday, offering a new portrait of the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s hospitals.
The data shows how the availability of beds has fluctuated at each hospital since the spring and breaks down how many intensive care, medical-surgical, and airborne infection isolation beds are available at each hospital.
In medical-surgical units, nurses typically care for five to seven patients who are in less critical conditions or require less intensive care than ICU patients. These types of beds are most numerous.
According to the Ohio Department of Health’s dashboard, more than 1,000 ICU beds have been available for the last several weeks. The data released to Eye on Ohio showed fewer beds were available. It was not clear why there was a discrepency.
The Ohio Court of Claims ordered the state health department to release the bed data to the Ohio Center for Journalism, Eye on Ohio, months after the center sued for information on bed availability.
The data shows that bed availability peaked in April when elective procedures were halted. Availability steadily declined through late June as those procedures resumed.
More recently, bed space has been declining as COVID-19 numbers have surged in Ohio since late September.
According to Eye on Ohio, the data reveals a “complicated, constantly changing” look at the pandemic’s impact on hospitals.
“Some hospitals seem to be doing fine, while other hospitals seem to be constantly scrambling for open beds. The result is heavily dependent on where patients live, though overall the number of available staffed beds is shrinking,” the center wrote.
Ohio set a record for daily COVID-19 deaths Wednesday with 156 new deaths as the state reported 10,853 new cases, the second highest case report since the pandemic began.
Ohio reported 417 new hospitalizations Wednesday, and a total of 4,541 inpatients receiving care in hospitals — a new record.
A quarter of Ohio's hospitals are reporting staffing shortages as COVID-19 cases surge in the state and the country.
A dashboard released Monday by the Ohio Hospital Association showed one-in-four inpatients have COVID-19, a 608% increase from the rate two months ago of one-in-31.