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New Data Tool Shows Which Hospitals Are Dangerously Full With COVID Patients

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NPR
The ratio of COVID-19 hospitalizations to total beds gives a picture of how much strain a hospital is under.

COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to skyrocket in the U.S. NPR built a tool to explore the latest trends around the country. Look up your local hospital to see how it's faring.

The federal government on Monday released 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.

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.

The University of Minnesota's analysis shows that there are 55 counties where the average hospital has reached that rate.

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

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Thomas Wilburn contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.