Fitting a stochastic model of intensive care occupancy to noisy hospitalization time series during the COVID-19 pandemic

Achal Awasthi, Volodymyr M. Minin, Jenny Huang,Daniel Chow,Jason Xu


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Intensive care occupancy is an important indicator of health care stress that has been used to guide policy decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Toward reliable decision-making as a pandemic progresses, estimating the rates at which patients are admitted to and discharged from hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs) is crucial. Since individual-level hospital data are rarely available to modelers in each geographic locality of interest, it is important to develop tools for inferring these rates from publicly available daily numbers of hospital and ICU beds occupied. We develop such an estimation approach based on an immigration-death process that models fluctuations of ICU occupancy. Our flexible framework allows for immigration and death rates to depend on covariates, such as hospital bed occupancy and daily SARS-CoV-2 test positivity rate, which may drive changes in hospital ICU operations. We demonstrate via simulation studies that the proposed method performs well on noisy time series data and apply our statistical framework to hospitalization data from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Health and Orange County, California. By introducing a likelihood-based framework where immigration and death rates can vary with covariates, we find, through rigorous model selection, that hospitalization and positivity rates are crucial covariates for modeling ICU stay dynamics and validate our per-patient ICU stay estimates using anonymized patient-level UCI hospital data.
compartmental models,continuous-time Markov chains,immigration-death process,likelihood-based inference,missing data,model selection
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