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Department of Health & Human Services

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) publishes several datasets on patient impact and hospital capacity. One of these datasets is mirrored in Epidata at the following endpoint:

That dataset contains dozens of columns that break down hospital resource usage in different ways.

This indicator makes available several commonly-used combinations of those columns, aggregated geographically. In particular, we include the sum of all adult and pediatric COVID-19 hospital admissions. This sum is used as the “ground truth” for hospitalizations by the COVID-19 Forecast Hub.

Signal Geography Resolution Description
confirmed_admissions_covid_1d state 1 day Sum of adult and pediatric confirmed COVID-19 hospital admissions occurring each day.
Earliest date available: 2019-12-31
sum_confirmed_suspected_admissions_covid_1d state 1 day Sum of adult and pediatric confirmed and suspected COVID-19 hospital admissions occurring each day.
Earliest date available: 2019-12-31

Table of contents

  1. Estimation
    1. Statewise, daily resolution
  2. Limitations
  3. Lag and Backfill
  4. Source and Licensing


Statewise, daily resolution

Statewise daily resolution signals use the following four columns from the HHS state timeseries dataset:

  • previous_day_admission_[adult|pediatric]_covid_[confirmed|suspected]

The confirmed signal is the sum of the two confirmed columns:

  • adult
  • pediatric

The sum_confirmed_suspected signal is the sum of all four columns:

  • adult confirmed
  • adult suspected
  • pediatric confirmed
  • pediatric suspected

The source data specifies that admissions occurred on the previous day. We automatically adjust the date of each result so that admissions are incident on that date.


HHS collects data from state and territorial health departments about many, but not all, hospitals in the U.S. Notably excluded from this dataset are psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities, Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities, Defense Health Agency (DHA) facilities, and religious non-medical facilities.

Lag and Backfill

HHS issues updates to this timeseries once a week, and occasionally more often. We check for updates daily. Lag varies from 0 to 6 days.

Occasionally a value published in an early issue will be changed in a subsequent issue when additional data becomes known. This effect is known as backfill. Backfill is relatively uncommon in this dataset (80% of dates from November 1, 2020 onward are never touched after their first issue) and most such updates occur one to two weeks after information about a date is first published. In rare instances, a value may be updated 10 weeks or more after it is first published.

Source and Licensing

This indicator mirrors and lightly aggregates data originally published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services under an Open Data Commons Open Database License (ODbL). The ODbL permits sharing, transformation, and redistribution of data or derived works so long as all public uses are distributed under the ODbL and attributed to the source. For more details, consult the official license text.