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Local & Regional

Oklahoma In Top Five States For Counties With 'Dangerously Full' Hospitals: Report

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar at an Operation Warp Speed press conference on Dec. 2.

A report from NPR following the Monday release of facility-level hospital capacity data by the federal government finds Oklahoma is among five states with the highest number of counties above a 90% average capacity threshold.

"The dataset — which includes capacity reporting from hospitals in 2,200 counties in the U.S. — spotlights areas where hospitals are getting dangerously full," write reporters Pien Huang and Sean McMinn. "In 126 counties, the average hospital is at least 90% occupied, according to an analysis of the data by the COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project. The states with the most counties above this threshold are Kentucky, Georgia, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Texas."

According to NPR, this is the first time the federal Department of Health and Human Services is publicly releasing this data at the facility level, though it has been collected and shared internally since July.

"The analysis coming from this data release is going to be crucial to informing the public," tweeted Ryan Panchadsaram, founder of the COVID Exit Strategy website.

HHS issued a statement about the release of the datasets.

"When data are aggregated at county or state level, the average across all facilities can mask what is happening at each local hospital," it reads in part. "Some hospitals might have additional capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, while others lack that capacity, for example.

"Using this new data, the public will have access to hospital-specific COVID-19 numbers to understand hyper-localized community impacts. This new level of transparency and increased access will accelerate COVID-19 insights and understanding."

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