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Massachusetts Changing How It Reports COVID Hospitalizations

BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts is changing how it reports hospitalizations in its daily COVID report.

Officials will now distinguish between patients admitted for COVID and those who were hospitalized for other reasons and then tested positive.

"It is its own measurement," Tufts Medical Center epidemiologist Dr. Shira Doron said. "We will be measuring what proportion of patients who are COVID positive and in the hospital, are being treated with the drug dexamethasone, which is a drug that's used for patients who have impaired oxygenation due to COVID."

The state is hoping to get a better sense of the severity of the Omicron surge. Right now, more than 2,900 people in Massachusetts hospitals have COVID.

"There may be a patient who is mildly ill from COVID and because of that they became dehydrated or because of that they fell. They won't be captured, but their hospitalization is related to their COVID," Doron said.

"It's not a perfect metric by a longshot, but what it is, is a very reproduceable and a very reliable and a very objective metric that every hospital can apply in the exact same way and that's what we were looking for here."

New York began a similar reporting practice last week.

Hospitals will begin to report the new data to the state this week. The first data reported on this metric will be available the week of January 17.

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