UPMC Data Reveal Important Lessons for Managing COVID-19

By: Courtney Caprara

At a virtual press briefing today, UPMC leaders Drs. Donald Yealy, Oscar Marroquin and Derek Angus shared the health system’s most recent findings related to COVID-19.

Press Conference Coronavirus 090320


Since the spring, UPMC has been tracking key data to better inform its approach to treating COVID-19, which impacts each patient differently. Marroquin, UPMC’s chief health care data and analytics officer, shared these key statistics:

• UPMC is receiving 2.5 times more COVID-19 test results per day in the last two months compared to the prior period.
• The positivity rate of 5.28% is only slightly higher than the spring’s rate of 4.94%, which indicates people are generally taking the correct precautions to protect themselves and others.

• Discharges are outpacing the hospitalization rate: the average number of patients admitted daily with COVID-19 is 2.8 times higher than in the spring, but daily discharges are 3 times higher.
• In-hospital mortality rates are trending down, and hospital stays are averaging one day shorter.

More than half of patients since the end of June have received dexamethasone or other steroids with improved results, and the use of Remdesivir has declined.
• The demographics of admitted patients remain largely unchanged: Current patients are similar in age with similar comorbidities compared to earlier in the pandemic.

Additionally, Angus, chief health care innovation officer at UPMC, shared important findings from the global REMAP-CAP trial, which uses a “learning while doing” approach to find the best possible treatment options for COVID-19.

Published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the trial identified that a week-long course of intravenously delivered hydrocortisone, a corticosteroid like dexamethasone, provided a 93% better chance of improvement for critically ill ICU patients compared to counterparts who did not receive it. The World Health Organization changed its treatment guidelines to reflect these findings.

“At UPMC, our COVID-19 patients are doing far better now than at the start of this pandemic. We have a team of gifted physicians and dedicated nurses and other health care experts who are doing the things that matter during these trying times,” said Yealy, UPMC senior medical director and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh.We will use our excellence and leverage knowledge and abilities from around the world to help eradicate COVID-19 in all the communities that we serve. UPMC remains ready to care for you and your families through this pandemic and beyond—and to keep you healthy.”