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Northwell Health outlines increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Northwell Health officials are seeing a rise in

Northwell Health officials are seeing a rise in the number of COVID-19 patients systemwide. Credit: Northwell Health / Lee Weissman

The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Northwell Health facilities has increased, with an uptick among those fully vaccinated, officials said Wednesday.

There are 206 people hospitalized with COVID-19, up from 150 on Nov. 5, according to Dr. David Battinelli, physician in chief for Northwell Health, the state’s largest health care system.

On Long Island, where the majority of Northwell’s hospitals are located, the census of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has grown from 120 earlier this month to the current figure of 150, Battinelli said.

"Just like the state numbers are up, our admission numbers are up," said Battinelli. "That’s the kind of warning bell everybody is trying to sound."

Across the state, 2,580 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, a number that has increased slowly but steadily over the last few weeks after dipping below 2,000 earlier this month, according to statistics from the state Department of Health.

Officials at NYU Langone–Long Island said Wednesday its population of COVID-19 patients has remained relatively steady with 18, including five who were hospitalized for other reasons.

Catholic Health said it currently has 91 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in its system and Stony Brook University Hospital reported 25.

Health experts have expressed concern that holiday travel and gatherings, especially among unvaccinated people, could cause an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

In a statement released Wednesday with her COVID-19 update, Gov. Kathy Hochul reminded New Yorkers we are headed into "a vulnerable time."

"We know how to prevent the spread of this deadly virus — get vaccinated," Hochul said.

Figures released Wednesday show 7,166 new positive cases of COVID-19 statewide reported on Tuesday, including 474 in Nassau County and 581 in Suffolk County.

The seven-day average of positive test results on Long Island was 4.28%, higher than the statewide average of 3.84% and New York City’s 1.67%. In parts of upstate and western New York, the average is over 8% and 9%.

Another concern is any growth in the number of "breakthrough cases," or positive COVID-19 cases among people who are fully vaccinated.

State figures show the number of fully vaccinated people who test positive or are hospitalized for COVID-19 remains low. As of Nov. 15, about 1.2% of lab-confirmed breakthrough cases were among people who were fully vaccinated in New York State. In addition, less than 1% of COVID-19 hospitalizations were of people who were fully vaccinated.

"There is a slight increase in non-boosted vaccinated patients admitted with COVID-19," said Dr. Aaron Glatt, chairman of medicine and chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital in Oceanside. "But it must be stressed that the overwhelming number of patients in the critical care units and unfortunately those who have died have been unvaccinated."

Battinelli said the percentage of fully vaccinated people hospitalized for COVID-19 at Northwell facilities has increased from about 10% to 20% of the total population in recent weeks.

He said people in that hospitalized, vaccinated group tend to be elderly, with compromised immune systems. But lately he is seeing others with comorbidities such as obesity and diabetes who have not received a booster shot.

Nearly one-third of eligible Long Islanders had received booster shots as of data released by the state on Tuesday.

"The number of vaccinated people is likely to continue to increase if more people don’t receive boosters," Battinelli said. "Now that all adults have been cleared for boosters, they are clearly the way to go."

Officials at NYU Langone–Long Island said less than half of its COVID-19 patients were vaccinated.

Catholic Health said about 15% to 20% of its hospitalized COVID-19 patients are fully vaccinated. And Stony Brook said the majority of its COVID-19 patients were not vaccinated.

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