Kudos to Gov. Kathy Hochul for getting public more vital info on COVID hospitalizations

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Kudos to Gov. Kathy Hochul for ordering a huge step forward on state reporting on COVID: On Monday, she announced that her minions will start asking hospitals to report not simply how many patients have the bug, but also how many were admitted because of it, vs. the number hospitalized for something else who later tested positive.

The breakdown should go a long way to calming needless fears, since getting hit so hard by the virus that you need hospital care is the main worry for most of us.

Distinguishing between this and either happening to catch a (possibly mild) case while hospitalized for something else or being admitted to hospital for a different condition but only finding out you have it after being tested on admission will go a long way.

Of course, those latter cases may still prove serious: Most COVID fatalities are of people with various comorbidities, and hospital infections of all kinds were a major cause of deaths pre-COVID.

But the breakdown is crucial to understanding that New York’s seven-day COVID hospitalization rate spiked to 37.3 per 100,000 people as of Monday, up from 25.3 the week before.

The gov noted that her spot-check with a few hospitals showed that as many as half of admissions were “not related to being treated for COVID.”

The fact that Omicron, which is more contagious but less pernicious than past variants, is driving New York’s surge makes the info even more vital: It can flag which facilities are doing poorly at preventing in-hospital transmissions, as well as easing public fears that the rising number of cases represents a real threat.

Like everyone else, we’ve had a ton of family members showing mild symptoms — and found it frustratingly hard to get a reliable test.

But it’s no big deal to suffer a mild cold or flu; it’s the fear of having something worse, and potentially spreading it to higher-risk loved ones, that’s so unsettling.

“We don’t have clear data right now,” Hochul noted as she announced her move to reduce the uncertainty. What a change from her predecessor, who actively concealed information at the height of the pandemic.

With this move, combined with cutting the isolation period for essential workers before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its advice, Hochul is so far proving she has what it takes to give New York the sure-footed and common-sense leadership it needs.

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