By Jack Phillips
An increasing number of states and municipalities are changing how they report COVID-19 hospitalizations, cases, and other data, signaling a shift in how policymakers healthcare workers view the CCP virus.
For example, in New Hampshire, the state reported seven COVID-19 hospitalizations, down from about two dozen reported during the previous week. Officials said the drop reflects a change in the statewide reporting policy.
In an announcement Tuesday, the state Department of Health and Human Services said it now defines a COVID-19 hospitalization to include patients who are being treated with either dexamethasone or remdesivir, which is employed to treat patients with severe or moderate symptoms. Individuals hospitalized with milder symptoms or for another reason but incidentally tested positive for the virus are not being counted, officials said.
In another sign that the pandemic is shifting, the Indiana Department of Health on Wednesday released new COVID-19 dashboards that will be updated fewer times per week. As for COVID-19 hospitalizations, the state will now only display the number of individuals who are hospitalized and won’t show the percentage of intensive care unit beds or ventilators available in the state.
“The increased use of at-home tests and other antigen tests that are never reported to the state has diluted the value of posting a daily positivity rate,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver told local news outlets. “A better measurement is the impact that COVID-19 is having on our health care systems, and our dashboard revisions will make it much easier to see how hospitals are being impacted.”
Meanwhile, Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Bruce Vanderhoff said on March 10 that Ohio is transitioning from daily to weekly COVID-19 data reporting, including cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
“As cases and hospitalizations dramatically decline, we are refining our public reporting processes to be more relevant for this new phase of the pandemic,” he said.
Around the same time, health officials in Nevada said they would reduce how often the state reports COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations.
“Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved over time, the public health response has also evolved in response to both changes within the virus and the way we measure community and health care impacts,” Nevada state epidemiologist Melissa Peek-Bullock said on March 10.
Arizona on April 7, meanwhile, said it would be scaling back updates of COVID-19 hospitalization data displayed on the state’s CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus dashboard in the wake of the diminishing of the outbreak and Gov. Doug Ducey’s recent end of the state of emergency that he declared over two years ago
Department of Health Services Director Don Herrington said Thursday in a blog post that a surveillance order requiring hospitals to report specific COVID-19 data is no longer in effect. Ducey lifted the order on March 03.
The end to updates of graphs displaying data on hospital bed usage availability, specific metrics for COVID-19, and ventilator usage and availability comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations have lessened significantly since the omicron variant’s peak in January, Herrington said.
“There are normal changes in operations as public health transitions to its traditional role of disease surveillance, prevention, and control,” Herrington said. “These changes to the dashboard reflect that.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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