Many patients hospitalized for other ailments, also testing positive for Covid

As the super contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads, hospitals are seeing a growing trend — patients admitted for other ailments are also testing positive for Covid-19. Doctors say it may mean more people have asymptomatic or undiagnosed disease than the current data show.

Across New York-Presbyterian’s 10 campuses, just less than half of patients are admitted with Covid, meaning they were hospitalized for a non-Covid related issue but were also tested and found to be carrying the virus. Statewide the figure is 43 percent, according to state data.

“I’ve admitted patients with abdominal pain, I’ve admitted patients with chest pain who had no symptoms of respiratory illness, cough or Covid, and they just ended up being Covid positive,” said Dr. Rahul Sharma, the emergency physician-in-chief for the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Hospitals across the country are also seeing a greater proportion of these so-called incidental Covid cases amid the omicron surge.

In Austin, Texas, some local hospitals report that 30 percent to 40 percent of the patients admitted for other reasons are also Covid positive, Dr. Desmar Walkes, medical director/health authority for the city of Austin and Travis County, said a news call Thursday.

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