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Montana COVID-19 model updated, fewer deaths forecast

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Posted at 1:09 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 15:10:20-04

BILLINGS — The projection for Montana COVID-19 cases and hospital impact is looking better.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) at the University of Washington has scaled back the projected number of hospital beds needed and the number of COVID-19 related deaths in Montana.

This model is being used by the White House Coronavirus Task Force for national and statewide projections. It was designed to help hospitals and local governments plan and give them an idea of how many resources they might need and when the peak of the virus may affect their community.

On Monday, the model showed the number of projected deaths in Montana falling dramatically from 268 to 22. It also shows the peak resource need for hospitals moved from April 26 to April 13. The earlier projection showed Montana would come up short for the number of ICU beds needed. The updated report shows that shortfall is no longer projected.

IHME reports it has been able to incorporate more data sources, including state government reporting from a substantially larger sample.

As for the peak forecast for the United States coming in the next couple of weeks, the IMHE model suggests April 15. However, that projection is heavily weighted toward the more populous areas that are expected to peak sooner. New York state, for instance, is forecast to peak around April 9. The current projection is for 81,000 COVID-19 related deaths in the U.S.

The IHME report's projections are trending down for deaths and hospital resource needs across the country with a few exceptions. The peak date for hospital resource use remains April 15.