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Online tool helps people track the status of hospitals amid COVID pandemic

More than two dozen ICUs and ERs were full on Monday.

ATLANTA — More than two dozen hospital intensive care units (ICUs) and emergency rooms were full on Monday, according to the Georgia Coordinating Center (GCC).

The online database shows bed capacity at medical facilities across the state and allows users to find the closest hospital to them with the most resources. The public can find real-time information on crowding at hospitals and see whether a facility is even accepting patients by ambulance. 

The website uses phrases like "severe" and "normal" to show the level of crowding, as well as "diversion" and "saturation" to designate levels of intake. The GCC also provides medical providers with information for patient transfers.

Public health expert and microbiologist Amber Schmidtke said the online system is critical in getting patients adequate care during bed shortages.

“Ambulance and EMT personnel will look at it to see where the best place is to take a patient who’s in need of care. Maybe the closest hospital doesn’t have enough beds of the type that patient needs so it’s not the best hospital for them at that time," said Schmidtke. 

GCC was originally created at the end of 2019 to manage ambulance transports and was known as the Regional Coordinating Center. With a $1.2 million investment from the state, the center evolved into the COVID-19 Georgia Coordinating Center this fall.