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COVID-19 Update: Washington cases may have already peaked – fewer deaths expected

FERNDALE, Wash. — As previously reported, The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle has been publishing estimates of predicted health service utilization and deaths due to COVID-19 for each state in the US.

The most recent update has a much more favorable forecast for Washington State.

An update dated Sunday, April 5th, estimates the number of hospital beds needed statewide peaked last week at 972 with 4,907 beds available. Their projection also 185 ICU beds with only 341 beds available.

Projected healthcare resource needs and availability in Washington State over time. Source: The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (published April 5, 2020)

This is a far more favorable forecast for the state than the one published March 26th. That forecast warned of the number of hospital beds needed statewide peaking mid-April at 2,922 with 4,907 beds available and a need for 437 ICU beds with only 341 beds available.

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Projected healthcare resource needs and availability in Washington State over time. Shaded areas indicate the margin of error range. Source: The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (published March 26, 2020)

In addition, the total number of expected deaths in the state from the COVID-19 disease in the April 5th projection is less than half the March 26th projection.

Projected number of COVID-19 deaths in Washington State over time. Source: The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (published April 5, 2020)
Projected number of COVID-19 deaths in Washington State over time. Shaded areas indicate the margin of error range. Source: The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (published March 26 2020)

Governor Jay Inslee announced yesterday that Washington would return more than 400 ventilators received from the Strategic National Stockpile to help states facing higher numbers of COVID-19 cases. The governor’s office said the state recently purchased more than 750 ventilators, which are expected to arrive over the next several weeks.

Thanks to the mitigation efforts the governor has put in place and the cooperation of Washingtonians, we have seen fewer infections in our communities than anticipated. Our current status allows us to help others who have a more immediate need.

Vice Admiral (ret.) Raquel Bono, M.D., Director, Washington State COVID-19 Health System Response Management (April 5, 2020)

The governor’s announcement emphasized, “It is important that Washingtonians continue to stay home, wash hands and maintain physical distancing. The data shows that current community mitigation strategies are working to slow the spread of COVID-19, and must be sustained to ensure Washington’s continued success.”

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