COVID-19 Hospitalizations Trend Downward as U.S. Moves Past Winter Peak

As the U.S. moves past the winter peak, COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decline, providing a hopeful outlook for the nation’s healthcare system. The latest provisional figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate approximately 19,000 new hospitalizations of people with COVID-19 over the seven days ending February 17. This number is about 1,000 fewer than the previous week, marking a 6% decline. For context, the lowest weekly count recorded by the CDC was around 6,300 during the week ending June 24, 2023.

Six Consecutive Weeks of Decline

This marks the sixth consecutive week of decreasing hospitalizations, a significant improvement from the recent peak of nearly 35,000 new hospitalizations during the week ending January 6. This peak represented the highest weekly total since the previous winter, which saw hospitalizations reach about 44,500. The recent decline represents a drop of more than 20% from the previous year’s winter peak.

The primary driver behind recent COVID-19 cases has been the omicron subvariant JN.1, which the CDC estimates was responsible for nearly all cases in recent weeks.

Regional Trends and High-Rate Areas

The national rate of new COVID-19 hospital admissions was 5.72 per 100,000 people for the week ending February 17, a rate the CDC characterizes as “low.” Every state reported a “low” level of new hospitalizations during that week. The states with the highest rates were:

  • Alabama (8.79 per 100,000)
  • Georgia (8.13)
  • South Carolina (7.94)
  • Florida (7.9)
  • Hawaii (7.2)

Alabama experienced the highest percentage increase in new hospitalizations at 33%, while Nebraska saw the largest decrease at 33%.

Emergency Department Visits and County-Level Data

Nationally, less than 2% of emergency department visits involved a COVID-19 diagnosis, down 12.4% from the previous week. South Carolina had the highest rate of emergency department visits for COVID-19 at 2.8%, followed by Louisiana (2.7%) and North Carolina (2.6%).

At the county level, the CDC reported 25 counties with a “high” level of new COVID-19 hospital admissions for the week ending February 17. Colquitt County in Georgia had the highest rate at 31 per 100,000 people, significantly above the “high” threshold of 20 per 100,000. Additionally, 280 counties had a “medium” level of admissions, while more than 2,900 counties were classified as having a “low” level of new admissions.

Broader Implications and Additional Data

The CDC calculates county hospitalization rates at the Health Service Area level, which can include multiple counties, leading to shared admission rates in the data. Other measures such as the National Wastewater Surveillance System offer insights into COVID-19 trends. According to recent wastewater data, 12 states had a “very high” activity level, although some classifications were based on single wastewater sites.

Since surpassing 1 million cumulative COVID-19 deaths in spring 2022, approximately 180,000 additional deaths have been recorded. Despite being below the peak of around 26,000 deaths in early 2021, more than 1,000 people continue to die each week from COVID-19. States like Oklahoma and Kentucky saw nearly 5% of their total deaths attributed to COVID-19 during the week ending February 17.

Supporting the Healthcare System

As a pharmaceutical distributor, Atlantic Biologicals is dedicated to supporting hospitals and healthcare providers during these challenging times. The resilience and adaptability remain crucial in ensuring communities continue to receive the care they need.

For more detailed information and updates, visit the CDC website or contact Atlantic Biologicals for support and resources tailored to healthcare facilities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.