Michigan COVID-19 hospitalizations rising for younger adults

NOW: Michigan COVID-19 hospitalizations rising for younger adults

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- A new trend in the hospitalization of younger adults due to COVID-19 is now far outpacing the elderly population in Michigan.

The Michigan Health & Hospital Association published the findings and said it’s not only the result of that older age group being vaccinated, but also the uptick of cases we’ve seen progress throughout the state these past weeks, including in Berrien County.

“This is exactly where we were in late November when the admissions went to 80, it’s also about the same as late January where we peaked out a little over 20,” said Loren Hamel, MD, President & CEO at Spectrum Health Lakeland.

For Lakeland Hospital, their resources aren’t yet being overwhelmed by the rise in cases in Berrien County, but hospital beds have filled up fast this week.

“Our inpatient volume has gone from nothing to about 20 and of course we still have cases pending,” said Dr. Hamel.

This correlates with the situation other Michigan hospitals are dealing with.

“In total we’re at over 1,800 hospitalizations, which is huge growth after we saw two to three months of steady decline,” said Chris Mitchell, Executive Vice-President of Advocacy & Public Affairs at the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

MHA found that from March 1 to 23, hospitalizations increased by 633% for those ages 30 – 39 and 800% for people 40 – 49, but only a 37% increase for those 80 and up.

Even looking just one group down to those between 50 and 59 – who’ve started getting immunized – hospitalizations only increased by 200%.

MHA got this information from inpatient data from their 134 member hospitals, including Spectrum Health, and compared it with statewide vaccination numbers.

“Instead of the older you are, the more likely you are to be hospitalized, it’s sort of flipped now and those folks being vaccinated are now less likely to be hospitalized,” said Mitchell.

But it’s not too late to stop this trend that’s going the wrong direction.

“We know folks are sick and tired of masks, distancing, and not being with their friends,” said Dr. Hamel. “On the other hand, we know those efforts reduce the risk of getting the disease.”

Dr. Hamel added that the mortality rate shouldn’t be as high for these younger adults.

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