Starting today, Massachusetts officials will change the way they list COVID-19 hospitalizations in state data. Authorities will now distinguish between people who entered the hospital because of COVID or for some other reason, even if they tested positive after admission. In other words, whether the admissions are primary or incidental to COVID-19.
The state’s Department of Public Health said the distinction will be important because it will give health officials a sense of the severity of the Omicron variant and the correlation between the record number of new cases and disease severe enough. to require hospitalization.
Hospitalizations for people infected with the virus have increased over the past month, with the Omicron variant becoming dominant due to its more infectious nature. This surge is comparable to the peak of the surge in December 2020 / January 2021. Before this peak, there had never been more than 10,000 new cases per day, there are now more than 20,000 new cases of COVID per day , possibly due in part to a public holiday rally.
Massachusetts Governor Baker is reflecting on the statistical distinction between those who test positive after being admitted and those whose COVID cases are severe enough to have been in hospital for almost a year now. In October 2020, he said: “When you call hospitals and talk to them one by one, or the systems, a significant number of people who we count as COVID positive are not in the hospital because they have COVID. They are in the hospital for another reason and they tested positive when they arrived. “
Critics say Massachusetts is infamous for its snail pace when it comes to getting through paperwork and that distinction should have been made when the governor made it.
Currently, 93% of state medical or surgical hospital beds and 86% of intensive care unit beds are occupied.