COVID is down, but some CT hospitals remain nearly full

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Norwalk Hospital is at 95.5 percent capacity over a seven-day average, though its intensive care unit is only 58.9 percent full on average.

Norwalk Hospital is at 95.5 percent capacity over a seven-day average, though its intensive care unit is only 58.9 percent full on average.

Patrick Sikes / For Hearst Connecticut Media

Hospitalizations from the coronavirus continue to fall, but some intensive care units in Connecticut are still well above 90 percent capacity.

The state announced Friday yet another decrease in COVID-related hospitalizations, down 57 to 674, the lowest it’s been since early November.

But a state report on hospital capacity shows some facilities have little room left.

According to Vincent Petrini, a spokesman for Yale-New Haven Hospital, the lack of capacity is in part due to the pandemic, and partly because of expected seasonal shifts.

“Simply put, this is usually the busiest time of year for hospitalizations,” Petrini said.

Earlier in the pandemic, patients were attempting to avoid a trip to the hospital. In December, when the state was in the throes of a second COVID wave, Dr. Thomas Balcezak, chief clinical officer for Yale-New Haven Health, said patients were starting to come to the hospital for other medical issues.

“People weren’t coming in with gall bladder attacks or signs of stroke,” Balcezak said then. “Now they are.”

That “delayed care,” as Petrini called it Saturday, is putting pressure on hospitals.

“Adding to the capacity challenges is the continued return of delayed care from earlier in the pandemic,” Petrini said. “When you add the several hundred COVID inpatient cases across our health system into the mix, even when the numbers of those cases are declining, it leads to full hospital beds.”

Norwalk Hospital, for example, is at 95.5 percent capacity over a seven-day average, though its intensive care unit is only 58.9 percent full on average.

Yale New Haven Hospital is at an average of 91.7 percent capacity over the last seven days, and its ICU is at an average of 88.3 percent capacity over the same time period.

The ICU at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford is at 94.3 percent capacity on average, more than any other ICU in the state.

Statewide, hospitals are at an average of 80.2 percent capacity, with ICUs 61 percent full on average over the last seven days.

Federal Health and Human Services data maintained by the University of Minnesota, COVID-19 patients in Connecticut comprise an average of 15.7 percent of total hospital capacity across the state.