New data suggest the coronavirus crisis will peak in Wisconsin around April 26 and could overwhelm intensive care units, according to updated projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent global health research center at the University of Washington.
The new data released Monday indicate that on April 26, it’s likely that about 3,758 people in Wisconsin will require hospitalization, with 562 intensive care unit beds needed on that day. Wisconsin has more than 5,000 hospital beds available statewide, but only 172 intensive care beds.
The projection still assumes Wisconsin residents maintain social distancing, with schools and nonessential businesses closed and the governor’s “Safer at Home” order still in effect.
The projections indicate the number of people hospitalized by late April could be fewer than 300 or more than 18,000, with about 3,758 the most likely number.
The findings also predict more than 1,300 deaths in Wisconsin.
Projections released by IHME on Sunday indicated a more optimistic picture: the crisis would peak around May 22, with 1,358 people hospitalized. IHME officials did not immediately return calls seeking clarification on what has changed.
With more than 5,000 hospital beds available, it would seem hospitals statewide will not be overrun with COVID19 cases, according to the projections. However, the projection does not take into account that nearly half of the state’s cases are in Milwaukee County.
The projections yesterday seemed to indicate that preventative measures taken in Wisconsin were successfully “flattening the curve,” avoiding a spike in cases that overwhelms the health care system, but today’s data indicates that may not be the case.
The new projections indicate the crisis would wind down by early June, with fewer than 150 still hospitalized at that time.
Nationwide, the projection now says the crisis will peak around April 15, with more than 224,000 in the hospital.
Wisconsin Bureau of Communicable Diseases Chief Medical Officer Ryan Westegaard said last week that to this point, about 20 percent of people who test positive require hospitalizations; if that ratio persists, there could be around 18,000 positive cases in Wisconsin on April 26 — and likely thousands of more cases that are never tested.
There are currently 1,189 positive cases in Wisconsin and 18 have died.