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New Data Briefs Measure Hospitalizations and In-Hospital Deaths in Early Months of COVID-19

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Four new statistical briefs from AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) provide data on hospitalizations in the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The analyses, based on data from 13 states, compare hospitalizations and in-hospital deaths in April to September 2020 with the same months in 2016 to 2019. Among the findings:

  • During the initial months of the pandemic, about 5 percent of hospitalizations were related to COVID-19. Hospitalizations overall decreased 15 percent in this period compared with earlier years.
  • About 27 percent of in-hospital deaths were related to COVID-19 during the pandemic’s initial months. The number of all-cause in-hospital deaths increased 30 percent in this period compared with earlier years.
  • In-hospital deaths for Hispanic patients and non-Hispanic Black patients increased 135 and 60 percent, respectively, in the pandemic’s early months compared with previous years. Fifty-seven percent of deaths for Hispanic patients and 37 percent of deaths for non-Hispanic Black patients were COVID-19 related.

The data analyses are based primarily on HCUP Summary Trend Tables, which provide state-specific monthly trends and may be accessed as downloadable files. While one statistical brief explores changes in hospitalizations across all ages, three companion briefs focus on hospitalizations for pediatric patientsadults ages 18 to 64 and adults 65 and older.

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