The Intitute for Health Informatics and Evaluation is an independent global health research group, housed at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. I was recently turned on to a website they’ve created that has some information about the healthcare system’s needs in response to the COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic we’re all experiencing. This summary is of data found at that website here: http://covid19.healthdata.org. The site begins with data from the United States, but I will be discussing our local needs. If you click the drop down menu in the green bar, you can select by state.
State-Mandated Social Distancing
First, the information about state-mandated social distancing. It lists the dates of Governor Jim Justice‘s decisions to stay at home, close educational facilities, close non-essential services, and to severly limit travel. Users can also compare the dates by other states to see how soon each Governor responded to the issue.
Hospital Resource Use
The next section is important. It shows numbers from the model of hospital resource use. The IHME model gives a countdown to when peak resource use will be in the state. In West Virginia, they predict it to be one month away on May 1, 2020. The chart further details three things 1. Bed Shortage 2. ICU Bed Shortage and 3. Invavsive Ventilators Needed.
According to the model, West Virginia’s peak will be in one month. The state will need 1,504 beds and has 3,032 beds available showing no hospital bed shortage. It shows a predicted need of 228 ICU beds with 196 available or a shortage of 32 ICU beds. ICU beds available is the total number of ICU beds available for COVID-19 patients minus the average historical ICU bed use. Finally, 183 invasive ventilators could be needed. There is also a graph that allows the user to move up and down to see the projections as well as their best and worst case scenario. West Virginia as a state seems to be faring better than places like New York, who are overwhelmed and will see the peak sooner.
Deaths Per Day
The next section shows deaths per day. Using the model, it is projected that West Virignia has 31 days until peak count of daily deaths. Users can move left and right to see the models prediction and best/worst case scenario.
Finally, the last graph on the site projects that West Virginia will have a projected 496 deaths from COVID-19, with best and worst case scenario from the model.
Thank you to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation for providing valuable data. I’ve been following this website since it was brought to my attention. It seems to be updated regularly to reflect the current situation. If you don’t live in West Virginia, look at how your state is predicted to be and how your policy makers are reacting.
Behind the front lines are health services researchers, biostatiticians, and epidemiologists that use models and data to help us predict many different health issues. In a pandemic, those data professionals take information we have and use it to help determine where resources need to go and help policy makers make the their decisions based on science. There is never enough research on health issues, especially in West Virginia.