The majority of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in New Jersey were actually admitted for reasons other than COVID-19, officials said on Jan. 10.
Of the 6,075 people with COVID-19 and hospitalized in the state, just 2,963 were admitted for COVID-19, New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said during a briefing.
“We have a fair number of what I’ve started to call COVID incidental, or incidental COVID, meaning you went in because you broke your leg, but everyone’s getting tested and it turns out you’ve got COVID. You didn’t even know it,” Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, said. “My wife didn’t know it and still she’s not back in the in the game, but never had any symptoms, so there is a significant amount of that.”
Previously during the pandemic, states largely neglected to distinguish COVID-19 hospitalizations from incidental COVID-19.
However, after large numbers of people began testing positive after the emergence of the Omicron variant, including those who have been vaccinated—some of whom have required hospital care—a growing number of officials have started making clear that not all COVID-19 hospitalizations are the same.
New York state for the first time reported last week its hospitalizations with COVID-19 versus its hospitalizations for COVID-19. Almost half of the hospitalizations listed as COVID-19 were incidental, state officials said.
Massachusetts is among the other states planning to soon make such data public.