Hospitals to change how they report COVID hospitalization data

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul delivered her COVID-19 briefing in Rochester on Monday starting with a frank statement about the current situation.

“We’re not in a good place, I’m going to be really honest with you… this is the winter surge we predicted,” she said.

In Monroe County, there is currently less than 2% of available staffed ICU capacity and hospitalization numbers continue to rise.

Starting Tuesday, Gov. Hochul will ask hospitals to report whether a patient is in the hospital for COVID-19 or if they tested positive for COVID-19 while being treated for another ailment.

“Someone is in a car accident they go to the emergency room they test positive for COVID while they’re there, they’re not they’re being treated for COVID… Now someone’s condition can worsen while they’re in the hospital, I’m not saying that won’t happen but I’ve just been doing a random call around to some of the hospital leaders that I touch base with and I’m seeing numbers from 20% to sometimes 50%. We don’t have clear data right now, that’s anecdotal,” the governor explained.

So, Gov. Hochul wants the hard numbers.

“Beginning tomorrow [Tuesday] we’re going to be asking all hospitals to break out for us, how many people are being hospitalized because of COVID symptoms, how many people happen to test positive just while they’re in there for other treatments,” she said, “I think that’s important, I just want to be honest with New Yorkers about how bad this is. Yes, the number of people infected is high but I want to see whether or not the hospitalizations correlate with that.”

News10NBC reached out to our local hospitals. A spokeswoman for UR Medicine said that its system tracks asymptomatic and symptomatic patients and the reason for admission. That’s the data it will start providing to New York State on Tuesday.

Regardless of the breakdown, “hospital capacity is still hospital capacity you either have beds for sick people or you don’t and if you have a heart condition you don’t want to be turned away because the beds were filled with either other people who had conditions like that or with COVID so, we’re watching that very closely,” Gov. Hochul said.

As of Monday afternoon, Monroe County and the Finger Lakes had about 13% to 14% of staffed hospital beds available.