Author(s): Jinwoo Park, Daniel Goldberg
The accessibility and availability of intensive care unit (ICU) beds are particularly critical in the context of COVID-19 because they are closely related to the fatality rate of the disease. As the spread of COVID-19 gets severe, many hospitals suffer the shortage of their Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds capacity, which deteriorates sufficient access to health care facilities. Therefore, the temporal uncertainty of the ICU beds availability (i.e., supply) exists as well as the uncertain travel speed (i.e., mobility). Our study examined the stochastic distribution of spatial accessibility to ICU beds in the Greater Houston area with the enhanced two-step floating catchment area (E2SFCA) method. We populated the uncertainties in both supply and mobility based on their historical changes and conducted a Monte-Carlo simulation to measure spatial accessibility from the stochastic perspective. As a result, the robustness of accessibility was tied with the number of alternative supplies. Downtown, where numerous hospitals were located, provided high accessibility with high reliability, whereas rural areas with limited health care facilities had low and unreliable accessibility. Interestingly, it is revealed that the disparity of the case-fatality ratio of COVID-19 could be attributed to whether locations have sufficient and reliable accessibility.