COVID

Nearly half of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Massachusetts are ‘incidental’ cases, new state data show

The state launched its new method of reporting primary vs. incidental COVID-19 hospitalizations on Thursday.


New state data show 51 percent of COVID hospitalizations in Massachusetts on Tuesday were patients who were seriously ill from the virus, while 49 percent of patients were admitted for other reasons but happened to test positive upon admission.

The state launched its new method of reporting primary vs. incidental COVID-19 hospitalizations on Thursday, reporting that on Jan. 18, 1,624 people were in the hospital primarily because they were seriously sick with the virus while 1,563 patients had tested positive for COVID-19 while being hospitalized for other reasons.

Some specialists told the Globe the information is crucial to understanding the impact of the latest COVID-19 surge on hospital capacity, while others feared it would obscure the pandemic’s true burden on the health care system. Some critics also worried that without a regional breakdown, the numbers could obscure COVID’s toll in parts of the state that have lower vaccination rates and a higher percentage of people hospitalized due to the virus.

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