According to data given by New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Friday, around half of all COVID patients in New York City hospitals were admitted for another condition before being diagnosed with the virus.

“COVID was not included as one of the reasons for admission” in roughly 43% of hospitalizations, which totalled 4,928 patients; compared to 6,620 patients “admitted to hospital due to COVID or complications of COVID” as of Jan. 7.

According to the same data set, 51% of all COVID-19-related hospitalizations in New York City were not COVID-19 related. According to the figures, 3,060 patients were admitted to the hospital for causes other than COVID-19, while only 2,992 were accepted for the disease.

This is the first time official data showing the main reasons for admission and hospitalizaton is published, as requested by Governor Kathy Hochul, who said she would require hospitals to obtain the information on Monday.

The figures do not indicate that a patient caught the virus while in the hospital; instead, they tell that a patient who was in for another cause, tested positive for COVID-19. So far, the information only covers two days: January 4 and 5.

However, the figures are just starting to create a clearer picture of COVID-19 admissions and hospitalizations across the state, despite an increase in the omicron strain, which is expected to be more contagious than prior variants but less likely to cause severe disease.

According to Hochul, the number of patients admitted to hospitals for any cause has been reasonably consistent since Dec. 21, rising by 700 people to 28,500 on Jan. 5. The percentage of those who tested positive for COVID-19, on the other hand, climbed from 16 percent to 42 percent.

“Think of all the other reasons people end up in a hospital,” Hochul explained the new findings by saying, “It’s an overdose, it’s a car accident, it’s a heart attack.” Hospitals test people for COVID-19 as a precaution before admitting them and previously reported those figures to the state along with the number of people admitted with COVID-19 symptoms as their primary condition.

“The sheer numbers of people infected are high, but I want to see whether or not the hospitalizations correlate with that,” the governor said this week.

New York City health officials have explained the misunderstanding surrounding hospitalization figures recently, but they have not provided a detailed breakdown. On Dec. 30, the subject was raised at a news conference, and it was brought up again on Thursday.

“As you would expect because there’s so much community transmission, we’ve had people [in] car accidents COVID positive, coming to deliver a baby, COVID positive,” said Dr. Mitchell Katz, the CEO of the city’s public hospital system on Thursday, Dec. 6. “Absolutely, there are people as part of those hospital statistics who are COVID cases.”

“My administration is hard at work making testing, vaccines, boosters and masks more widely available in to fight this winter surge,” Hochul said.

“While we are prepared to deal with whatever comes our way using the tools we know are effective, it will take a concerted effort on the part of every New Yorker to beat this pandemic and protect our loved ones.”

“Large numbers of patients being hospitalized with COVID as opposed to because of COVID also complicates care delivery,” Denis Nash, Professor of Epidemiology at CUNY College of Public Health said, “The case fatality rate is expected to be lower with omicron when beds and oxygen are available. But all bets are off when there is no room for everyone who needs care and when there’s not enough [health care workers] to meet demand.”

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