Patients’ Average COVID-19 Average Hospital Stay Up During Omicron in Virginia

The average length of stay for COVID-19 patients went up in the first quarter of 2022, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA).

“What we saw in the Omicron wave was that those coming into hospitals were staying longer for their COVID hospitalization with an average length of stay of 10 and a half days,” VHHA Vice President of Data Analytics David Vaamonde said during a Monday presentation of hospital and emergency department visit trends.

A slide accompanying the presentation shows average COVID-19 length of stay fluctuating between 7.85 days and 10.24 days in previous quarters, with only the second quarter of 2021 having an average length of stay above 10 days.

From the beginning of the pandemic through the end of quarter one 2022, there have been 103,717 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Virginia.

Vaamonde also presented data showing that most hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Virginia also had hypertension, with many also having chronic kidney disease or hyperlipidemia — high cholesterol.

Substance-related disorders were increasing significantly before COVD-19, but hospitals began seeing a larger increase in patients needing treatment for  alcohol and drug use and drug induced disorders. In 2022 quarter two, rates were down to highs seen just before the beginning of the pandemic after peaking in the middle of 2021.

Vaamonde included data breaking cases out by race.

“So what we see is that through the pandemic, we saw a larger share of non-whites increasing versus a decrease in the overall white population,” Vaamonde said.

Most of those cases are in the 31-50, 51-70, and 19-30 age groups, but Vaamonde highlighted the 0-18 category.

“Even though the major categories which are the 31-to-50-year-olds and the 51-to-70-year-olds have remained relatively along the same trend path over time, the smaller group here, which is 0 to 18, has actually been increasing at the highest rate, even though it makes up a very small share of the total,” he said.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].

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