Feds Release Hospital-Level COVID-19 Data For First Time

Dec 8, 2020, 8:42 PM | Updated: 8:58 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – For the first time since the pandemic began, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is releasing hospital-level data about capacity.

Until now, the information was only available at the state level.

“When data are aggregated at county or state level, the average across all facilities can mask what is happening at each local hospital,” HHS officials said about releasing the more specific data.

The hope is that the public can better understand how COVID-19 is impacting their communities. In providing the information, the federal health department wanted to make it clear that Americans should not avoid the hospital if they need care.

“Patients should not be discouraged from seeking hospital care based on their interpretation of the data,” officials said. “Hospitals have protocols in place to keep patients safe from exposure and to ensure all patients are prioritized for care.”

Nearly 50 Utah hospitals contribute information to the weekly report — the most recent being the week ending Nov. 27. The report details hospital occupancy and ICU bed utilization.

“Using this new data, the public will have access to hospital-specific COVID-19 numbers to understand hyper-localized community impacts,” HHS officials said in a news release. “This new level of transparency and increased access will accelerate COVID-19 insights and understanding.”

Utah already has a robust system for collecting hospital information during the pandemic, said Utah Hospital Association President Greg Bell.

“Since April we’ve been able to know exactly how many people are occupying how many beds in which hospital across the state both referral center and community and rural facilities,” Bell said.

The data set is available for download.

“These datasets will enable academics, data scientists and all Americans to see how COVID-19 cases are impacting individual hospitals and local regions,” the news release from HHS said.

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Feds Release Hospital-Level COVID-19 Data For First Time