COVID-19 hospitalization numbers are creeping up in Massachusetts and other states in the Northeast, an indicator that the most recent wave of the virus is not yet abating, though current rates are far lower than levels seen in late December and early January amid the Omicron surge.
Hospitalization levels have become a crucial indicator of the severity of COVID-19 surges as more people turn to at-home testing, the results of which are not factored into official case counts released by the state.
The most recent seven-day average of Mass. COVID hospitalizations is 531, an increase of more than double from mid-to-late March. Nearly two-thirds of the 604 currently hospitalized patients are fully vaccinated, according to Department of Public Health data. Most people who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 recently are older adults: 7 in 10 of those who wound up in the hospital were 60 or older, despite reported infections being heavily concentrated among younger people.
Many who test positive went to the hospital for another reason. Massachusetts distinguishes between those who are hospitalized with COVID-19 and those who are hospitalized primarily for the virus. As of Monday, 195 out of the 604 people hospitalized were admitted primarily for COVID-19, according to the state. That is up from 67 in mid-March, a nearly 200 percent increase.
While hospitalizations are on the rise, one bright spot is that the number of deaths due to COVID-19, which tends to lag behind hospitalizations, has not increased substantially. The seven-day average of deaths has remained below 10 since mid-March. Similarly, the number of severely ill COVID patients — those in the ICU — has ticked up, but not as dramatically as in previous surges.
Explore the charts below for data on hospitalizations in Massachusetts and elsewhere.