The Massachusetts Department of Health reported 3,187 people were hospitalized with COVID as of Jan. 18, but new data released shows that only 51 percent of those patients were actually admitted to the hospital because of the virus.
The remaining 49 percent, which accounts for 1,563 people, are "incidental" cases of COVID, meaning they did not go to the hospital initially because of the virus.
Earlier this month, the Department of Health announced it would be changing the way it reports its hospitalization data to account for any incidental cases of COVID.
For a case to be considered incidental, the patient would have had to test positive for COVID after having been admitted to the hospital for other reasons. These cases often arise due to routine COVID testing performed at hospitals.
The Department of Health said within the next few weeks it will begin incorporating the primary and incidental COVID hospitalization numbers into its interactive COVID data dashboard.
For now, the numbers will just show the total number of people in the hospital who have the virus, regardless of if the case is incidental or not.