As the 3rd wave of COVID-19 is constantly on the infect people, new data shows that many hospitals in the Ohio Valley they are under strain, running lacking bed space, especially for probably the most critically ill.The following graphs show how the pandemic is affecting hospital capacity in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, and you can check out the map view here. (The storyline continues below.)

The data released through the Department of Health and Human Services last Monday gives first insight into how individual hospitals across the country are doing.

The data, based on reports by hospitals to HHS, shows that the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations is putting pressure on the health care system with hospitals in several dozen counties in the region running either at capacity or dangerously close. With this data analysis, the ReSource used the 7-day averages for hospital capacity in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia for the week starting November 27.

HHS data was readily available for hospitals in 192 counties over the three states. From the 77 counties in Kentucky for which data was available, COVID-19 patients occupied a lot more than 10% of inpatient beds in 42 counties. In Ohio, 64 of 77 counties breached that mark and 14 of 38 counties in West Virginia.

According towards the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in the University of Washington, if the number of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients is greater than 20%, it's considered “extreme stress”. A lot more than 10% of beds occupied can often mean “high stress”.

That surge of patients is straining capacity. Hospitals in 22 from the 192 counties within the regional data reported running at more than 90% capacity. Fourteen of these counties are in Kentucky.

The pressure is particularly ideal for intensive care units. Hospitals are running out of ICU bed space as 28 counties used a lot more than 90% of capacity throughout the week of November 27.

That week, in Kentucky's Fayette County, 94% of 1,455 inpatient beds and 84% of 372 ICU beds were occupied. Nearly a sixth of those inpatient beds were taken by COVID-19 patients. In Jefferson County, 98% of ICUs beds were utilised and 75% of adult inpatient beds were occupied with COVID-19 patients taking 17% of these.

Fayette and Jefferson counties, the place to find Lexington and Louisville, would be the state's most populous counties. But this wave of the pandemic has spread well past cities, bringing the results of viral community spread to smaller towns and rural counties. .

For example, COVID-19 patients occupied 39% of inpatient beds In McDowell County, West Virginia, 46% in Tuscarawas County, Ohio and 36% in Cumberland County, Kentucky.

As the ReSource has reported, COVID-19 leaves rural hospitals with fewer beds while losing their nursing staff as more get sick or must quarantine due to the virus.

While the vaccine continues to be presented, it might take months to vaccinate a considerable population and also to reach a point where people won’t have to follow guidelines to prevent the spread from the virus.

Meanwhile, the hospitals within the Ohio Valley will probably continue being strained especially at a time when cold temperature forces people to stay indoors, which experts say increases likelihood of people getting sick. And as Christmas is about the corner, there is a probability of further rise in infections if individuals don't take recommended precautions such as limiting how big gatherings, mask wearing and social distancing.

With several hospitals running at capacity, a surge in hospitalizations within the next few months might place the Ohio Valley's health care system in crisis.