Nearly Half Of COVID Cases In Massachusetts Hospitals Are ‘Incidental’

New data released by the state shows nearly half of the patients in Massachusetts hospitals who tested positive for COVID were admitted for other reasons.

In its daily COVID report Thursday, the state is now distinguishing between patients with “primary” and “incidental” COVID cases.

On January 18, there were 3,187 patients hospitalized with COVID.

Of those patients, 1,624, or 51%, were listed as being hospitalized due to primary COVID.

There were 1,563 patients, or 49%, reported as incidental COVID. This includes patients in the hospital for something else, like a broken hip, who just happen to test positive for COVID.

Patients are reported as being hospitalized for primary COVID if they received dexamethasone, a steroid treatment.

“It’s a good measure of those patients who are admitted to the hospital with COVID who have serious respiratory infection or serious respiratory complication,” Dr. Maren Batalden of the Cambridge Health Alliance told WBZ-TV.