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There are now more than 11,500 hospitalized New Yorkers around the state. However, a closer look at hospital records shows thousands are not there due to severe COVID issues like labored breathing. 

Hochul said an analysis of hospitalization from Wednesday revealed 42% of COVID patients came to the hospital for a different reason. In New York City, the number was higher, around 50%. 

She said COVID testing, which has become a routine part of hospital admissions for everything from a broken bone to a burst appendix, flagged the cases.  About 37% of people diagnosed at the hospital were asymptomatic. 

Dr. Steven Corwin, President & CEO of the New York Presbyterian system explained that it effectively means many more overall COVID cases than last winter, but “much less in the way of cases in ICUs and much less in the way of patients requiring ventilators.” 

“The patients requiring ICUs are older, sicker and mainly unvaccinated,” Corwin said.  “Very, very rare to see someone admitted who’s had a booster.” 

This is contributing to Hochul ordering that all health care workers get their booster shot within two weeks of being eligible. She pushed back on the notion it would lead to the loss of more health care workers, saying the bigger risk is too many workers coming down with COVID. 

“I believe their view is they did it once, they’ll do it again,” Hochul said. “So we don’t think it’s going to be the level of challenge we saw the first go around [with the initial mandate].” 

Health leaders do remain deeply concerned about two vulnerable groups: the elderly and children. 

Children being hospitalized at higher rates than at any other time during the pandemic, especially the unvaccinated.  Children under five are not yet eligible. 

COVID is also showing up in nursing facilities.  Friday, Hochul ordered anyone visiting a nursing home to get a negative test within 24-hours of their visit and wear an enhanced medical grade mask.