COVID-19: Hospital Capabilities

About our data

As we continue to fight COVID-19 in our state, one of our main goals is to not overwhelm the hospitals. We must protect the capacity of our healthcare system and of our frontline health care workers, so that the amount of manpower and beds that we have in our state are able to treat and serve all Wisconsinites who need hospitalization from COVID-19. That’s key, because if we don’t have capacity in our healthcare system, we cannot take care of our families, friends, or neighbors who may become ill with this virus, or patients with needs that are not COVID-related.

Hospitals are not required to report to DHS's Emergency (EM) Resource system, though many hospitals in Wisconsin regularly provide information on hospital preparedness during COVID-19. Since reporting is not mandatory, the data displayed in the hospital capabilities dashboard below may not accurately represent the current healthcare system capacity in Wisconsin. 

The amount of ventilators available gives us an idea of how well equipped our hospital systems are to not only handle COVID-19 patients, but other patients who may also need ventilation. For ventilator use, we are currently reporting the total of all machines capable of provide ventilation. This is done in line with new guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

Previously, we would report hospital ventilator supply only for “general use bedside ventilators,” which are most common for treating COVID-19 patients in need. However, when necessary, there are additional ventilator machines that can be used. By capturing the total amount of ventilators statewide, we are able to get a better measure of hospital capabilities should a growing amount of ventilators be needed by COVID-19 patients. You may notice that the proportion of ventilators available is now higher than before—this is because we are looking at how many ventilators are available compared to all the different ventilator machines. Before we were only comparing available ventilators to the total of “general use bedside ventilators” available.

For a list of all the types of ventilators and more information on the data displayed below, visit the Data 101 page.

We plan to update our data each day by 4 p.m. 

Last Revised: September 11, 2020