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Trying to break down COVID hospitalization numbers for better understanding

How many patients test positive after being admitted for other medical reasons?

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Governor Kathy Hochul brought the issue up and requested hospitals to start reporting it last week. She wants to determine how many incidental cases of patients testing positive for COVID after they were admitted for some other reason there actually are in hospitals around the state. 

Hochul said statewide it's about 57 percent of those in hospitals are not there strictly for COVID reasons. 

Hochul told reporters, "Diving deeper into these numbers has really been important for us. It doesn't mean that these are empty beds. This is still a very high number of people in hospitals who need constant care, who need nurses and doctors...need people to take care of them. But just to make sure we have an expectation of what's going on with COVID cases compared to people who are testing positive that are not in the hospital originally because of those positive numbers."   

2 On Your Side tried to "dive deeper" last week with Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. He responded in his briefing last Tuesday, with some certainty, after we asked if it was in essence just adding on as opposed to strictly being COVID patients for the count.

Poloncarz said, "Well we know the answer to that question in Erie County - it's approximately 90 to 92 percent of all COVID 19 patients actually are in hospitals for COVID 19 - there is a small portion of it - less than ten percent who may be going for a procedure or a car accident - they had a broken leg - they test and find out their COVID positive."

There was no county briefing this Tuesday. We were told the County Executive adjusted that count downward to 67 percent admitted for COVID and 33% for a non-COVID-related matter on his social media Twitter account.

Whatever the case we decided to check with some of our local hospitals like ECMC. We asked, "Among patients who are in the hospital who is now currently identified as having COVID - about 50 percent - correct me if I'm wrong on these numbers please - about 50 percent are coming in because either they're really sick because of COVID or they have those frailties as you pointed out." 

Dr. Sam Cloud, who is the Associate Director of Emergency Medicine replied, "Correct". 

Reporter: So the other 50 percent are incidental testing - people maybe in a car crash or some kind of trauma who are coming into the ER and then they test positive for COVID - so that's the 50-50 breakdown?

Dr. Cloud says, "Correct "

We just heard back that Catholic Health Hospitals report a 30 percent level for non - COVID conditions. A Kaleida spokesman says he does not think they track such numbers. We did not hear back from the New York State Health Department to find out if it is now a requirement for hospitals to do so or when the reporting actually began.  

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