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UW Medicine researchers issue COVID-19 forecast for Washington

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Seattle yesterday, March 26th, published the first set of estimates of predicted health service utilization and deaths due to COVID-19 by day for the next 4 months for each state in the US.

IHME developed a statistical model for forecasting deaths and hospital utilization against capacity by state for the US based on the time intervals since social distancing initiatives such as school closures and stay at home mandates were issued combined with:

  • data on confirmed COVID-19 deaths by day from the World Health Organization (WHO) and local and national governments
  • data on hospital capacity and utilization for each US state
  • observed COVID-19 utilization data from select locations

IHME researchers note, “The projections assume the continuation of strong social distancing measures and other protective measures.”

The IHME projection for Washington state as of March 24th expects the number of hospital beds needed statewide to peak during the 2nd week of April at 2,922 with 4,907 beds available. Their projection also warns of a need for 437 ICU beds with only 341 beds available at that same time, a shortage of 96 beds.

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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

IHME is also providing projections for the expected number of deaths related to COVID-19.

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

IHME is an independent health research center at UW Medicine, part of the University of Washington, whose goal, according to their website, is to determine how best to dedicate resources to maximize health improvement.


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