The state of COVID-19: 5 updates for ASCs

Here are five of the latest updates on COVID-19 that ASC leaders should know as of Jan. 4:

1. Treating COVID-19 patients has become significantly more expensive. Research published Jan. 3 in JAMA showed that care provided to hospitalized COVID-19 patients in March 2020 cost an average of $10,394. As of March 2022, the average cost reached $13,072 — a 26% increase.

2. The majority of states have reported high levels of respiratory virus activity. Thirty-one states and Washington, D.C., reported high levels of respiratory virus activity, according to CDC data from the week ending Dec. 29, the most recent available. Thirteen of those states reported "very high" activity levels, as did New York City.

3. Five states have reinstated mask mandates in response to rising levels of COVID-19, the flu and respiratory syncytial virus as of Jan. 2: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Washington, D.C., according to Newsweek. The number of cases reported nationwide increased by 12.7% the week ending in Dec. 23 compared to the previous week.

4. The dominant variant in the two-week period ending Dec. 23 was JN.1, which accounted for 44.2% of cases nationwide, according to CDC data. It overtook HV.1, which was the dominant variant the previous four weeks and accounted for 22.1% of cases in the forecast period. 

5. There were 29,059 COVID-19-related hospital admissions the week ending Dec. 23, a 16.7% increase from the previous week, according to CDC data. Emergency department visits due to COVID-19 increased by 12% and the rate of test positivity increased 0.7% in the same week.

Here are five updates on the spread, treatment and other important notes on COVID-19 that ASC leaders should know as of Nov. 28:

1. The omicron HV.1 variant of COVID-19 was responsible for 31.7% of cases reported during the two-week period ending Nov. 25, according to the latest data from the CDC. The EG.5 variant was the second-most common, accounting for 13.1% of cases.

2. As of Nov. 21, 1.55% of all patients who visited the emergency room in the previous seven-day period were diagnosed with COVID-19, a slight increase (.06%) from the previous week.

3. Levels of respiratory illnesses (COVID-19, influenza and RSV) are highest in the southeastern U.S. as of Nov. 27, with levels being reported as "very high" in South Carolina and Louisiana and "high" in surrounding states.  

4. There were 18,119 COVID-related hospital admissions the week of Nov. 11-18, an increase of 9.7% compared to the previous week. 

5. COVID-related issues accounted for 2.6% of deaths the week of Nov. 11-18, an increase of 8.3% compared to the previous week.

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