A surge of new coronavirus cases in Michigan is hitting a younger demographic than previous spikes which officials said is likely due to high vaccination rates among those ages 70 and above. At Spectrum Health hospitals, the average age of hospitalized COVID-19 patients is now 60, whereas last fall the average was 73, officials said during a press conference on Tuesday, according to MLive.com.
“In this latest surge we are seeing, it shows the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Tina Freese, Spectrum Health president and CEO, said, according to WOODTV.com. “People showing up in our hospitals with COVID-19 are significantly younger on average than during the fall surge, and we have yet to care for someone who has been fully vaccinated.”
Last week, health officials in the state noted an “alarming” rise in COVID-19-related hospitalizations among unvaccinated individuals. The first three weeks of March saw a 633% increase in hospitalizations among adults ages 30-39, and an increase of 800% among those ages 40-49.
‘ALARMING’ RISE IN COVID-19 RELATED HOSPITALIZATIONS AMONG UNVACCINATED ADULTS IN MICHIGAN: OFFICIALS
At Spectrum Health, specifically, officials have seen the number of COVID-19 inpatients over 70 decline by about 40%, while the number of patients younger than 40 has jumped 54%, MLive.com reported.
“As we’re seeing younger people being hospitalized, we recognize as does the state that the more vaccine we get into younger folks the better, sooner,” Darryl Elmouchi, Spectrum Health West Michigan president, said during the presser, according to the news outlet.
Statewide, there are currently 2,424 hospitalized adult suspected/confirmed patients with COVID-19, with 488 currently in the ICU, according to data.
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“It’s definitely a younger demographic in the hospital, definitely a lot of positivity and a lot of concern that what we’re seeing now feels strangely reminiscent to what we saw a few short months ago,” Elmouchi said, according to MLive.com.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Michigan currently has the worst case rate in the nation, with a 7-day average of 361.5 cases per 100,000 people. The state’s followed by New Jersey, Connecticut and New York.
The state is not scheduled to open vaccine eligibility to all adults age 16 and older until April 5, but Spectrum Health has already begun allowing everyone to schedule appointments online.
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“Our goal is to put as many shots in arms as possible,” Elmouchi said, according to WOODTV.com.