The Department of Health and Human Services this week released data on the number of beds available at individual hospitals for the first time, and said it would continue to do so on a weekly basis. Previously, HHS had only released state and national hospital-bed data.
In California, hospital admissions have risen 70% over the last two weeks, leaving just 1,700 intensive-care unit beds available out of 7,800 in the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has issued stay-at-home orders in regions where ICU beds fell below 15% capacity.
The U.S. set a record for COVID-19-related hospitalizations this month with more than 100,000 patients, and the number of people with the virus in ICUs has surpassed 20,000, as hospitals await a post-Thanksgiving surge in admissions and brace for more after Christmas and Hanukkah.
A new tool can help people assess the situation in their area. Using the University of Minnesota’s COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project, NPR created a map for people to find out how many COVID-19 hospitalizations there are in their county as a percentage of the total number of beds.
See NPR’s hospital map here.
One note of caution: Science Magazine said there may be discrepancies in the HHS hospital-bed numbers. On Nov. 16, 71% of Wisconsin’s hospital beds were filled, HHS said. “Yet a different federal COVID-19 data system painted a much more dire picture (91%) for the same day,” according to the magazine.