- COVID-19 hospitalizations will soon be reported differently by the Ontario government.
- The message came as Ontario reported 43 COVID-19-related deaths on Friday, with 42 of them occurring within ten days.
The Ontario government will soon change how COVID-19 hospitalizations are reported.
According to Alexandra Hilkene, a spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott, the province will soon distinguish between those admitted directly due to COVID and those admitted incidentally.
“Currently, Ontario’s hospitalizations contain patients who were admitted for COVID-19, and also people who were admitted for other purposes and are now testing positive for COVID-19,” Hilkene said in an email to Global News.
The province, she said, asked hospitals to update their daily reporting on Dec. 29 to distinguish between the two.
As per Hilkene, data gathering on this information started last week, and public reporting will start “shortly.”
Hilkene also said the province is evaluating whether it needs to update the way deaths are reported in another email she sent Friday morning.
“We’re evaluating whether there’s a need to upgrade reporting to distinguish among causal and incidental deaths related to COVID-19, similar to the work that’s underway on hospital reporting,” she said, referring to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
“For example, we’ve heard anecdotal evidence of a small number of people receiving palliative care in congregate care settings who passed away with COVID, but not necessarily as a result of the virus.”
“While any change in reporting will not change the fact that these people died tragically, it is critical to be transparent and provide as much context as possible to the public.”
The message came as Ontario reported 43 COVID-19-related deaths on Friday, with 42 of them occurring within ten days.
In a press conference on Dec. 30, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, was inquired about incidental COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province.
According to preliminary conversations with Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington, about half of their admissions are unintentional.
“If someone has a broken leg, they all get screening testing, and they all come back positive,” Moore explained.
“We don’t want those numbers to contribute to our understanding of the burden of hospitalizations in Ontario, so we’ve asked all of our hospital partners to be more diligent in their reporting so that we can provide a reliable source of data to decision-makers and Ontarians on the impact of COVID on our hospital sector,” says the spokesperson.
According to Moore, “very preliminary” conversations have revealed that when the virus is more prevalent in the community, the risk of incidental cases increases.
Moore said he has “more confidence” in the COVID-19 intensive care admissions number because hospitals are only required to report those with COVID-related critical illness. ICU reporting, on the other hand, is being looked into.
Moore noted, “We’ve never had a virus become so prevalent in the community that people would come in by accident.”
Meanwhile, Ontario reported the highest number of COVID patients admitted to hospitals since the outbreak began on Friday. There were 2,472 people hospitalized with the virus, up from 193 days before.
There were 338 patients in intensive care, up 19 from the previous year.
Source: Global News
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