We see a lot of numbers in regards to COVID-19. Heck, there's even a number in the name. The big question is, "What numbers really matter?" Here are some of the numbers you see frequently.

  • COVID-19 deaths
  • COVID-19 new cases
  • COVID-19 recoveries

But the one number we need make sure we're paying attention to is hospitalizations and ICU beds. The reason we need to pay attention to this number is because this is when it starts to affect other areas. You'll hear one side of the spectrum always cry out that the survival rate is so high and the death rate is so low, who cares about COVID-19 and that it isn't that big of a deal. Well, it is because people are still being hospitalized. People hospitalized with COVID-19 are putting a strain on the healthcare system because it's taking away beds from other patients. That's the concern for smaller cities. If an outbreak were to hit, they wouldn't have the resources to handle it.

Here in El Paso, according to state data, we are getting low on ICU beds. The whole El Paso region, which includes the three counties of El Paso, Hudspeth, and Culberson, is down to just 8 ICU beds. Early on Saturday (July 25th) the El Paso Department of Public Health said that there were 97 patients in the ICU with COVID-19. This is the first time in over a week that that number has been below 100, but the total ICU beds are filling up and there are just 8 available.