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 hospital-reported trends in the number of COVID-19 inpatients, including those who are in intensive care units (ICU). It also displays the use versus availability of hospital beds, ICU beds, and ventilators. 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.
As we continue to improve the ways we display data, we have updated the 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.
Please note that the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance (WEDSS) system underwent routine maintenance and enhancements over the weekend of October 16-18, 2020. Due to this temporary pause in reporting, multiple days of data were uploaded at once, affecting the single day count for the visualizations during that time.
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 metrics describe patients currently hospitalized in an inpatient bed who have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and the capacity of hospitals to admit more patients.
Data source: Hospital capacity data are from the Emergency Management Resource (EMResource) system, as reported on a daily basis by participating hospitals. These metrics are only reported by Health care Emergency Readiness Coalition (HERC) region, as not all counties have hospitals.
Please note that EMResource data underwent system-wide changes on 7/21/2020 to comply with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data changes. As a result, reporting differences may appear between data entered before and after that date.
This count is the number of patients currently hospitalized in an inpatient bed who have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, in the past two weeks. This count includes patients within and outside of ICU and excludes any patients in observation status.
Patients in ICU
This count includes the number of patients in ICU who have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in the past two weeks. This count is a subset of all hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Trajectory of patient hospitalizations
This indicator is the percent change in patients from the previous week to the current week. The percent change must be at least a 10% increase or decrease and be statistically significant to be considered growing or shrinking.
|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 is statistically significant (p-value is less than 0.025).|
|Growing||Percent change in hospitalizations or ICU stays is greater than or equal to 10 percent, and is statistically significant (p-value is less than 0.025).|
|No Significant Change||Any other conditions besides those that meet the "shrinking" or "growing" statuses described above.|
This metric is the percent of beds in use out of all staffed ICU beds, medical-surgical beds, intermediate care beds, and negative-isolation beds, over the last two weeks.
This metric is the percentage of ICU beds in use out of the total number of staffed inpatient ICU beds, in the past two weeks. This is a subset of all hospital beds.
This metric is the percentage of mechanical ventilators currently in use out of the total number of mechanical ventilators, in the past two weeks.
Prior to July 21, 2020, hospital ventilator supply was reported 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.
After July 21, 2020, ventilator capacity includes the use of all of the following types of equipment in the hospitals:
- General Use Bedside Ventilators
- Anesthesia Machines
- BiPAP Machines
- ECMO Machines
- Home Use Ventilators
- Oscillators / High Frequency Ventilators
- Weight Limited NICU Bedside Ventilators
Hospitals with Immediate Bed Availability (IBA)
The IBA number represents the percent of staffed hospital beds available to accept new patients across the state, with the ability to filter by HERC region as well.
Hospital Peak Capacity
The peak capacity data represents the percent of hospitals that have listed their hospital status as "Peak Capacity," which may indicate they are not able to take any more patients, or specifically in their ICU or in their Medical and Surgical units (Med/Surg).
The peak capacity data metric may also include hospitals on "Bypass" status, which indicates the facility has sustained a major internal emergency and cannot treat any patients, including self-referrals, by EMS or Inter-facility transfers.
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 [https://wwwn.cdc.gov/nndss/conditions/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/.... 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).
- COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 is listed on the death certificate.
*This definition was updated as of August 19, 2020. Previously, 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.
How can I download DHS COVID-19 data?
All DHS COVID-19 data is available for download directly from the chart on the page. You can click on the chart and then click "Download" at the bottom of the chart (gray bar).
To download our data visit one of the following links:
- State data
- County data
- Census tract data *coming soon*
- Municipality data *coming soon*
- School district data *coming soon*
- Zip code data *coming soon*
- Disease activity and hospital capacity data
- Vaccine data by:
- Testing sites
*As of May 27, 2021, the visualizations are using an updated data file that allows corrections due to quality assurance to be counted on the date when a case or death was first reported, rather than affecting the current daily count of cases or deaths.
You can find more instructions on how to download COVID-19 data or access archived spatial data by visiting our FAQ page.
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.