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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.

Use the look-up tool below the map to find details about hospitals in your county.

Thomas Wilburn contributed to this report. This story was originally published on Dec. 9, 2020.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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