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As Labor Day weekend ends, health officials believe COVID-19 cases could potentially rise again

Online tool gives public the opportunity to see the strain COVID-19 is placing on hospitals across the U.S.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With Labor Day weekend ending, health officials believe COVID-19 cases could potentially rise again.

The National Public Radio (NPR) has created a tool that allows individuals to see how their hospitals are faring under the strain of COVID-19. Dr. Chris Bird with the Health District's Informatics and Modeling Team understands the benefit of knowing this information.

“The eye-opening thing in this graphic is how much of the adult hospitals are stressed versus overall numbers,” Bird said. “It’s even higher, right, there’s a 26 to 61 percent out of the two hospital systems that treat adults being dedicated to COVID-19 and that’s very eye-opening.”

According to Bird, knowing this information can help predict what cases may look like after holiday travel.

“What we might expect to see in two weeks a bump in cases,” Bird said.

This site uses information from the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the University of Minnesota COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project. Dr. Bird believes this tracker gives people a unique look at the pressure hospitals are under.

“20 percent is extreme stress. We’re at 37 percent, last week that’s more than extreme stress and it’s something people can understand very well,” Bird said.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington also points out that the strain on a hospital can be measured by its ICU capacity. Researchers say that when 30% or more of ICU beds are filled by COVID-19 patients, it suggests that the hospital is operating under high stress, and if 60% or more are full, it's considered to be at the extreme stress level.

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