Federal Data Reveal Which Hospitals Are Dangerously Full This Week. Is Yours?
Note: This story was updated at 3:50 p.m. ET Monday, Jan. 25.
The federal government on Monday released an updated set of detailed hospital-level data showing the toll COVID-19 is taking on health care facilities, including how many inpatient and ICU beds are available on a weekly basis.
Using an analysis from the University of Minnesota’s COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project, NPR has created a tool that allows you to see how your local hospital and your county overall are faring. (Jump to look-up tool.)
It focuses on one important metric — how many beds are filled with COVID-19 patients — and shows this for each hospital and on average for each county.
The ratio of COVID-19 hospitalizations to total beds gives a picture of how much strain a hospital is under. Though there’s not a clear threshold, it’s concerning when that rate rises above 10%, hospital capacity experts told NPR.
Anything above 20% represents “extreme stress” for the hospital, according to a framework developed by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
If that figure gets to near 50% or above, the stress on staff is immense. “It means the hospital is overloaded. It means other services in that hospital are being delayed. The hospital becomes a nightmare,” IHME’s Ali Mokdad told NPR.
Those thresholds are a bit higher for ICU capacity. IHME says when 30% or more of ICU beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, it indicates a hospital is operating under “high stress.” Facilities greater than 60% are considered at “extreme stress.”
All of these indicators, of course, vary depending on the size of and resources at a given hospital.
Thomas Wilburn contributed to this report. This story was originally published on Dec. 9, 2020.
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