A helpful tool was recently released that helps you calculate the risks of visiting areas across the U.S. Tap or click here to find out if the place you’re planning to visit over the holidays is a large risk area. But as the holidays approach, COVID-19 cases are spiking and hospitals across the U.S. are running out of available space. If you need to go to a local hospital, check out this map first. It may save you from a long drive to a crowded building that simply has no room for you.

New tool tracks hospitalizations due to COVID-19

Thanks to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, we can now see how COVID-19 is impacting individual hospitals. You can see nationwide data on hospital capacity and bed use at the facility level. If you’ve ever wondered, “How many beds in my local hospital are filled with COVID-19 patients?” You can find the answer in the data. This is a huge deal — it’s the first time DHHS has released facility-level hospital data. Previously, the department only released state-level data. This means we’re now getting a crystal-clear picture of the toll COVID-19 takes on healthcare facilities near you. If you need to know how close to capacity your local hospital is, look at the data. NPR’s interactive map reveals just how many inpatient and ICU beds are available every week. This tool shows you how your local hospital and overall county are faring. It uses analysis from the University of Minnesota’s COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project. Now, with this interactive map designed by NPR, you can see how well your local hospital is scraping by.

Here’s how to use the map

Let’s use Maricopa County as an example. That’s where you’ll find Kim Komando’s HQ. If someone near the studio needs to find space in a local hospital, they can pull up the map and search by county. Tap Maricopa County and check out the data. This paints a startling picture: four hospitals are at full capacity. For example, there’s not a single adult bed to be spared at Abrazo Arrowhead Campus in Glendale. Scroll down to the bottom of the data, and you’ll see how data in this county compares to average numbers. Now, let’s move across the country to Illinois. Specifically, let’s take a look at Cook County, IL. That’s where you’ll find the famous Windy City of Chicago. Wondering how badly COVID has hit Cook County? Just navigate over the Illinois state and tap on the county you want. Then, you can examine the data: Scroll down, and you’ll see that Cook County has a 7-day average of 2,271 COVID-19 patients.

Remember: this map measures its data based on beds

With this tool, you can see how many hospital beds across the country are filled with COVID-19 patients. As you can see above, you’ll find this data for each hospital and an average for each county. The ratio between hospitalizations due to the virus and total beds clearly illustrates the strain hospitals are under. While creating this graph, NPR interviewed hospital experts who said it’s concerning when the rate rises above 10%. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, anything above 20% means the hospital is working under “extreme stress.” Imagine the excruciating burden of a figure near 50% or above. Ali H. Mokdad, a health metrics sciences professor with IHME, told NPR this means the hospital is overloaded. “It means other services in that hospital are being delayed,” Mokdad said. “The hospital becomes a nightmare.” Thanks to this interactive map, we can now see the hospital average has skyrocketed to these stressful numbers in 55 counties. The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.