On Monday, the United States Department of Health and Human Services released a massive data set, which will be updated weekly, detailing current hospital capacity across the country. This comes as Governor Andrew Cuomo is focusing more on hospital capacity and how it will relate to pandemic shutdowns across New York.
Previously, a portion of this data was available at the state level, and some states provided further geographic breakdowns. In New York, the state government has provided hospitalization numbers and capacity by regions on its Daily Hospitalization Summary and Regional Metrics Dashboard, but data about individual hospitals has been hard to find. Now, with the HHS dataset, we can create more detailed maps showing local hospital capacity. Let's take a look at New York City:
This map shows the percent of adult, inpatient hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, on average daily for the week ending on 12/3. You can see not all hospitals are included: The HHS dataset has a number of limitations (for instance, VA hospitals aren't included), and some hospitals have not reported all the necessary data to do a capacity calculation. Of the hospitals that did provide enough information, you can see most are not reporting high COVID-19 patient capacity. The exceptions are Staten Island University Hospital, with 27% of beds occupied by COVID patients, and Flushing Medical Center, at 20%.
Remember, these are not total capacity percentages: Non-COVID patients are also in the hospital. However, these numbers do give some sense of how the strain is being distributed across the city.
Let's zoom out and look at the state as a whole:
Here you can see a clear pattern of hospitals in the Southern Tier and western part of the state seeing high numbers of beds filled with COVID-19 patients. Jones Memorial Hospital, in Wellsville, is at 44%, the highest in the state, with 21 of 49 of its beds filled.
Now, let's look at ICU numbers, first at the city level:
Again, we're seeing Staten Island University Hospital, with 78 of its 83 adult staffed ICU beds full, or 93%. But a number of other hospitals are seeing more than 90% of their ICU beds filled by COVID patients: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Sinai West in Manhattan; Methodist, Kingsbrook, and Brookdale in Brooklyn; and Jamaica and Flushing Hospitals in Queens, the latter reporting an astounding 123% of its ICU beds used by COVID-19 patients.
We can also look at ICU beds statewide:
We see a pattern of high COVID-19 ICU hospitalizations in the Southern Tier and western part of the state. It's important not to just look at the total hospital and ICU percentages, however—hospitals try to keep spare capacity fairly low, because staffing unfilled beds costs money, so an ICU at 90% capacity does not necessarily mean a hospital is on the brink of being overrun by cases. It is also important to look at growth, so in all the maps above we've also calculated growth percentages comparing each hospital's fullness percentage to the same figure two weeks ago in the dataset.
On average across all the hospitals that provided full data, beds taken up by COVID cases have grown about 60% in that period, but ICU beds have only seen growth of 4%. You can use the map to look up the growth at individual hospitals to get a sense of how the picture is changing over time near you.
We're going to need to study this data set in some depth: it has nearly 100 columns of data for each hospital, including very detailed breakdowns of beds by category, and across time. By next week, we should have enough information to start drawing more conclusions about capacity around the city, and how close we are to having a shortage of beds.
Until then, if you have any questions about this data set, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.