Understanding our data: What does hospital capacity mean?
How high are COVID-19 hospitalizations and how much capacity do hospitals have to handle a surge?
The hospital capacity dashboard shows trends in the number of COVID-19 inpatients, including those who are in intensive care units (ICU). These data are reported to DHS by hospitals. The dashboard also displays the percent of hospital beds and ICU beds that are currently in use.
Understanding and maintaining some availability of these key resources is critical at any time, but especially if COVID-19 hospitalizations (or any other hospitalizations, including for influenza) start to increase rapidly.
- October 4, 2022: This visualization is using an updated model for hospital bed availability to improve the accuracy of that estimate. As a result of this update, historical data on number of hospital beds and beds immediately available has also been updated.
About our data: How do we measure hospital capacity?
How high are COVID-19 hospitalizations and how much capacity do hospitals have to handle a surge?
These data describe patients currently hospitalized in an inpatient bed who have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and the capacity of hospitals to admit more patients.
Data sources: Hospital capacity data are pulled from two sources:
- HHS Teletracking, which collects hospital COVID-19 data mandated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for all hospitals registered with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS);
- Emergency Management Resource (EMResource) system, in which participating Wisconsin hospitals report status updates daily.
These data are only reported by Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition (HERC) region, as not all counties have hospitals.
- October 4, 2022: The COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Hospital Capacity dashboard has been updated to utilize bed use measures reported to HHS. Historical data was also transformed to use this new metric and the change did not affect utilization trends.
This count is the number of patients currently hospitalized in an inpatient bed who have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. This count includes patients within and outside of ICU and includes any patients in observation status.
Patients in ICU
This count includes the number of patients in ICU who have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. This count is a subset of all hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Trajectory of patient hospitalizations
This indicator is the measure of change in patients over the course of the selected data period. To be considered growing or shrinking, the percent change of the total count of patients from the first week in the data period to the second week must be at least 10%. The slope generated by a linear regression of the hospital counts over the entire data period must also be considered statistically significant (for example, p-value < 0.05).
|Hospitalizations trajectory status||Value (change from prior 7-day period to most recent 7-day period)|
|Shrinking||Percent change in hospitalizations or ICU stays is less than or equal to negative 10 percent, and the slope generated by a linear regression of hospitalizations or ICU stays over the data period is statistically significant (p-value is less than 0.05).|
|Growing||Percent change in hospitalizations or ICU stays is greater than or equal to 10 percent, and the slope generated by a linear regression of hospitalizations or ICU stays over the data period is statistically significant (p-value is less than 0.05).|
|No Significant Change||
Cell count is large enough and any other conditions besides those that meet the "shrinking" or "growing" statuses described above.
|Not Classified||Cell count is not large enough for statistical process to be robust enough to forecast.|
This metric is the percent of beds in use out of all staffed inpatient beds, which includes overflow, observation, and active surge/expansion beds used for inpatients as well as ICU beds.
This metric is the percentage of ICU beds in use out of the total number of staffed inpatient ICU beds. This is a subset of all hospital beds.
Hospital Peak Capacity
The peak capacity statistics measure the percent of hospitals that have listed a status of "Peak Capacity" in their daily reporting. We break these down to hospital, ICU, and Medical and Surgical (Med/Surg) unit levels. On a hospital level, this metric will include hospitals on "Bypass" status, which indicates the facility has experienced a major internal emergency and cannot treat any patients including self-referrals, by EMS or Inter-facility transfers.
These statistics aim to measure how many hospitals are at a critical level of capacity and are approaching or have reached a state where they can no longer accept more patients.
For more information, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions webpage.
We plan to update our data each Wednesday by 5 p.m.
Understanding our data: What does this chart mean?
This map allows you to choose a Health care Emergency Readiness Coalition (HERC) region to view the number of cases among health care workers in that region. Hovering over the region will list the counties located within that region as well as the number and percent of cases among health care workers for that region. We can use this to identify regions where health care workers are being increasingly affected by COVID-19 and inform our response accordingly.
About our data: How do we measure this?
Data source: Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS).
Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information on how cases of COVID-19 are reported to WEDSS.
Every morning by 9 a.m., we extract the data from WEDSS that will be reported on the DHS website at 2 p.m. These numbers are the official DHS numbers. Counties may report their own case and death counts on their own websites. Because WEDSS is a live system that constantly accepts data, case and death counts on county websites will differ from the DHS counts if the county extracted data from WEDSS at a different time of day. Please consult the county websites to determine what time of day they pull data from WEDSS. Combining the DHS and local totals will result in inaccurate totals.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19: Unless otherwise specified, the data described here are confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported to WEDSS. Cases are classified using the national case definition established by the CDC. Confirmed cases are those that have positive results from diagnostic, confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests or nucleic acid amplification tests (NAT) that detect genetic material of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Illnesses with only positive antigen or positive antibody test results do not meet the definition of confirmed and are not included in the number of confirmed cases.
COVID-19 Deaths: Unless otherwise specified, COVID-19 deaths reported on the DHS website are deaths among confirmed cases of COVID-19 that meet the vital records criteria set forth by the CDC and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) case definition. Those are deaths that have a death certificate that lists COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as an underlying cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death. Deaths associated with COVID-19 must be reported by health care providers or medical examiners/coroners, and recorded in WEDSS by local health departments in order to be counted as a COVID-19 death. Deaths among people with COVID-19 that were the result of non-COVID reasons (e.g., accident, overdose, etc.) are not included as a COVID-19 death. For more information see the FAQ page.
Probable cases of COVID-19 and deaths among probable cases. Some visualizations include the option of including information on probable cases of COVID-19 and deaths among probable cases of COVID-19. Cases are classified using the national case definition established by the CDC and the CSTE. A person is counted as a probable* case of COVID-19 if they are not positive by a confirmatory laboratory test method (for example, a PCR, or NAT test), but have met one of the following:
- Test positive using an antigen test method.
- Have symptoms of COVID-19 AND known exposure to COVID-19 (for example, being a close contact of someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19) and no molecular or antigen test was performed.
- COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 is listed on the death certificate.
*Prior to August 19, 2020, probable cases also included those that had a positive antibody test which detects COVID-19 antibodies in the blood. For more details on this transition, see the CDC’s statement.
Deaths among probable cases are those that meet one of the following criteria:
- A probable case of COVID-19 is reported to have died from causes related to COVID-19.
- A death certificate that lists COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as an underlying cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death is reported to DHS but WEDSS has no record of confirmatory laboratory evidence for SARS-CoV-2.
Data shown are subject to change. For more information see the FAQ page. As individual cases are investigated by public health, there may be corrections to the status and details of cases that result in changes to this information. Some examples of corrections or updates that may result in the case or death counts going up or down, include:
- Update or correction of case’s address, resulting in a change to their location of residence to another county or state
- Correction to laboratory result
- Correction to a case’s status from confirmed to unconfirmed (for example, if they were marked as confirmed because a blood test detecting antibodies was positive instead of a test detecting the virus causing COVID-19)
- De-duplication or merging and consolidation of case records
- Update of case’s demographic information from missing or unknown to complete information
We plan to update our data Monday through Friday by 2 p.m.
One of the most effective ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, free, and now widely available.