Gov. Northman’s Virginia Power Grab Defies Science


The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) presented analysis of COVID-19 hospitalization data on patient demographics, age and sex, accompanying chronic conditions and length of stay during a webinar on Thursday.

The study reviewed statewide data trends from over 8,700 COVID hospitalizations in Virginia between January and June of 2020, and was presented by David Vaamonde, vice president of data analytics for the VHHA.

During the presentation, Vamoonde pointed out that the data being shown was only for hospitalized patients and did not represent all COVID cases in Virginia.

VHHA found that Black people accounted for 25.76 percent or 2,246 of the COVID hospitalizations during that timeframe. For the total hospitalizations, counting all conditions, Black people accounted for 23.37 percent, Vaamonde said.

Comparatively, White people accounted for 32.15 percent or 2,803 of coronavirus patients admitted and roughly 60 percent of the total numbers. The third largest race for COVID hospitalizations was identified by the association as “Other, Specified” which had 23.38 percent of virus hospitalizations, but only 7.11 percent of the totals.

Julian Walker, vice president of communications for VHHA, told The Virginia Star in an email the “Other, Specified” description corresponds to any patient who checked more than one box to characterize their race/ethnicity.

Coronavirus hospitalizations broken down by age and sex revealed the average age for patients was 68, which follows general knowledge that the virus disproportionately impact older people, and the median age was 70.

Additionally, the age and sex data showed there were under 50 hospitalizations for newborns and that the oldest patient in the Commonwealth during that time was 103-years-old, according to Vaamonde.

The next slide presented information on hospitalizations based on different insurance payer categories with 39 percent of patient or 3,363 out of nearly 8,700 having Medicare, which makes sense given the average and median ages, and 36 percent of patients having commercial health insurance.

Another data set offered in the webinar was COVID patient length of stay in hospitals. Over 1,000 coronavirus hospitalizations only lasted three days. The average length of stay was approximately two weeks with a median of 10 days, Vamoonde said.

Vamoonde also said there were a few patients who stayed in hospitals for over 75 days, an indication of severe cases.

The final slide showed the breakdown and percentages of patients who were hospitalized with chronic conditions. The most common chronic condition among patients was hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure, with 67.55 percent of the COVID hospitalizations and 63.43 percent of all hospitalizations.

Chronic kidney disease, hyperlipidemia and diabetes were the next most common conditions.

Before Vamoonde began his presentation, Dr. Mike McDermott, chairman of the VHHA board of directors, said Virginia hospitals are expected to exceed over $3 billion in losses by the end of 2020 and that the association has requested $219 million in federal relief aid from the state government.

According to the VHHA COVID-19 in Virginia hospitals dashboard, as of Friday, there are currently 651 patients hospitalized with confirmed cases of coronavirus and 18,336 confirmed positive patients have been hospitalized and discharged.

Confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations has been increasing since the beginning of October, according to the VHHA dashboard.

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Jacob Taylor is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network. Follow Jacob on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]




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