COVID hospitalization rises in New York, but not as sharply as case count

PHOTOGRAPHER:

File Photo

ALBANY — New York surpassed 12,000 people hospitalized with COVID, and with 55,000 new infections confirmed on what is typically the slowest day of the week for lab results, the hospital census is likely to go higher.

But state Department of Health data released Monday also contain some bright spots: 

A much smaller percentage of COVID-infected people are winding up in the hospital so far this winter than in last winter’s surge. The number of hospitalizations on Sunday was 42% higher than Jan 9, 2021, but the number of new positive tests in the first nine days of this year was 371% higher.

Also, the high number of COVID-positive hospital patients statewide is diluted by the fact that 42% of them were admitted to the hospital for reasons other than COVID symptoms.

How much higher the hospital census rises likely depends on the longevity and severity of the omicron variant, because hospitalization lags behind infection: During the winter surge a year ago, new infections peaked in New York on Jan. 7 and hospitalizations peaked Jan. 19. 

Health officials are hoping omicron is both quicker to dissipate and less severe in its effects than previous variants seen in the two-year-old pandemic.

The issue is pressing, as hospitals are short-staffed and crowded. To preserve bed capacity, 40 of the state’s roughly 200 hospitals (including all Mohawk Valley hospitals) currently are barred from performing non-urgent surgeries. 

Here’s a look at how local regions and the state as a whole are faring amid the winter 2022 surge.

CAPITAL REGION

The Capital Region is seeing far more infections but fewer hospitalizations and deaths so far in 2022 than at the start of 2021.

For the first nine days of this year:

  • 21,671 new infections were lab-confirmed in the eight-county Capital Region, equal to roughly 2% of the region’s population. This compares with 8,416 in the same nine days of 2021.
  • 55 deaths were blamed on COVID, compared with 92 a year ago.
  • The number of COVID-positive patients in local hospitals rose from 271 to 362; there were 505 on Jan 9, 2021.
  • On Jan. 9, 2022, hospitals counted 11 patients younger than 20 years old, compared with just three a year earlier.
  • And 76% of current COVID-positive patients were admitted because of COVID symptoms, the highest percentage of any region in the state.

MOHAWK VALLEY 

The Mohawk Valley is seeing far more infections but substantially fewer hospitalizations and deaths so far in 2022 than it was at the start of 2021.

For the first nine days of this year:

  • 8,001 new infections were lab-confirmed in the six-county region, equal to roughly 1.7% of the region’s population. This compares with 4,489 in the same nine days of 2021.
  • 21 deaths were blamed on COVID, compared with 86 a year earlier.
  • The number of COVID-positive patients in local hospitals rose from 128 to 141; there were 299 on Jan. 9, 2021.
  • On Jan. 9, 2022, hospitals counted two patients younger than 20 years old.
  • And 66% of current COVID-positive patients were admitted because of COVID symptoms.

STATEWIDE

Statewide statistics are weighted by New York City and its three closest suburban counties. They are home to more than half the state’s population and are suffering a greater impact from COVID so far this winter than other regions of the state.

For the first nine days of this year across the state:

  • 636,313 new infections were lab-confirmed in the 62 counties, equal to roughly 3.2% of the state’s population. This compares with 135,731 in the same nine days of 2021.
  • 1,124 deaths were blamed on COVID, compared with 1,464 a year earlier.
  • The number of COVID-positive patients in New York hospitals rose from 8,443 to 12,022; there were 8,484 on Jan. 9, 2021.
  • On Jan. 9, 2022, hospitals reported 353 patients younger than 20 years old; this compares with 55 a year ago. 
  • And 58% of current COVID-positive patients were admitted because of COVID symptoms.
By John Cropley

Leave a Reply