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Here's how to check hospital capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic

Anyone can check hospital capacity in the immediate area or in hospitals across the nation, thanks to a new nationwide database.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The federal government released a nationwide database that allows anyone interested in hospital capacity to take a look.

You can find the database here.

Those who are comfortable working with Excel and other spreadsheet software will have no problems finding what they need. For the rest of us, the database appears a bit confusing.

To begin, you should see this heading.

Credit: Department of Health and Human Services

Scroll down until you see the download button.

Credit: Department of Health and Human Services

Click that and download the report to your computer.

Once you open the spreadsheet, click the magnifying glass on the far right and type in the name of the hospital, the city, the state or other information for the facility you are interested in viewing.

Credit: Department of Health and Human Services

I found the most helpful columns were N, which contains the number of adult in-patient beds for the facility on a seven-day average, and P, which shows how many of those beds were occupied over that same seven-day average.

Credit: Department of Health and Human Services

Dr. Melinda Muller, the interim Chief Medical Officer for Legacy Health, reviewed the database and said the numbers are roughly accurate for her hospitals, Emanuel and Good Samaritan.

The database does not include psychiatric, rehabilitation, Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities, Defense Health Agency (DHA) facilities, or religious non-medical facilities. It is a 7-day average that runs from the previous Friday through Thursday.