New data release shows where hospitals are overwhelmed across America

--News Direct--

Hospitals across the country are on the verge of overflowing with nearly 700 hospitals at over 90% inpatient capacity, according to a new dataset released Dec. 7 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Meanwhile, 750 hospitals have exceeded 90% capacity in their intensive care units, where patients in critical condition are treated. Stacker created a report complete with data visualizations that can be found here.

These numbers come as a third surge of COVID-19 outbreaks rages in nearly every state. When hospitals are overwhelmed, it becomes challenging for doctors and nurses to provide COVID-19 patients with the attention care they need and can lead to further loss of life.

The new HHS dataset provides a granular picture of these grim national statistics, including counts of patients and hospital beds at the individual hospital level for more than 4,000 facilities across the country. These counts are reported by hospitals nearly every day, either sent directly to the HHS or sent to state public health departments and hospital networks that aggregate the data. Stacker used these counts to calculate three values for each hospital:

  • Patients hospitalized with COVID-19: share of COVID-19 patients compared to all patients in the hospital
  • Inpatient bed occupancy: how many standard care beds in the hospital are currently filled with patients
  • ICU bed occupancy: how many intensive care beds are currently filled with patients

HHS also reports hospitalization data at the state level. National insights (as of Dec. 13) include:

  • The states with the highest rates of occupied beds are Maryland (79.8% of all beds occupied), Washington D.C. (80.0%), and Rhode Island (85.2%).
  • States with the highest shares of their populations hospitalized with COVID-19 are Arizona (53 patients per 100,000 population), Pennsylvania (55 per 100K), and Nevada (67 per 100K).
  • 19% of hospitals in the nation are facing critical staffing shortages, while 24% anticipate such a shortage within the next week.
  • Staffing shortages are highest in Arkansas (33.6% of hospitals in the state), Wisconsin (35.6%), and North Dakota (42.0%).

For more details on methodology or insights about your state, contact us at

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Melanie Holohan

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