Multiple states in the U.S. are reporting a drop in ICU bed availability as the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations rises. The Arkansas Department of Health said the state hit a record low when officials reported only 25 open ICU beds as of Wednesday afternoon.
State officials said more than 394,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Arkansas since the pandemic began in March 2020. Over the past two weeks, the number of positive cases has steadily risen, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. Currently, nearly 500 people are in COVID-19 ICUs across the state and nearly 300 patients are on ventilators.
According to Arkansas’ data, 42.25% of residents 12 years old and up have been fully vaccinated.
The Mississippi State Department of Health also reported a drop in ICU bed availability. On Tuesday, the latest data showed there were 68 adult ICU beds available statewide. That was down from Monday when 108 beds were available.
Mississippi has seen a recent uptick in vaccinations as U.S. health officials blame the delta variant on the surge in cases across the country.
In Massachusetts, where the vaccination rate is among the highest in the nation, there was a smaller uptick in ICU patients. On Tuesday, state officials reported 51 COVID-19 patients were in the ICU. That was up from 33 patients from the week before, but significantly lower than April when the state had more than 1,000 COVID-19 ICU patients.
Health officials have maintained that vaccinations offer the best protection from severe COVID-19 infections.
According to the latest data from the CDC on breakthrough COVID-19 cases, less than 1% of people who have contracted the novel coronavirus despite being vaccinated have either been hospitalized or died.
As of July 26, the CDC reported that 163 million Americans had been vaccinated for COVID-19. Out of those inoculations in the same timeframe, 6,587 Covid-19 breakthrough cases occurred that either resulted in hospitalization or death.
Out of the 6,587 cases, 1,263 vaccinated people died from COVID-19, according to the CDC. About 95% of the reported breakthrough cases were hospitalizations.
The majority of breakthrough COVID-19 cases that resulted in hospitalization or death were in elderly people, 48% of whom were women. Twenty-four percent of the breakthrough deaths were reported as asymptomatic or not related to COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Austin Williams and the Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported from Los Angeles.