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Younger patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Michigan as fourth wave surges

Covid Lungs
Posted at 7:57 AM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 07:57:49-04

(WXYZ) — As a fourth wave of COVID-19 surges in Michigan, an ICU nurse at Beaumont in Trenton says more young patients are being admitted than at any point during the pandemic.

“I think that people don’t understand what’s going on,” said Jennifer Stokley, who’s been working in the intensive care unit since March of 2020.

While the virus primarily targeted the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, Stokley says patients today are “…our children’s age, and they’re very sick.”

For most of the last three months, vaccine access was greatest for the elderly, with a majority in the state receiving at least partial vaccination.

Today, the state opened up vaccine eligibility to everyone age 16 and older.

Statistically, far fewer young people are partially or completely vaccinated, making them more vulnerable to infection.

Last week, Stokley said she treated an 18 and 35-year-old on the same day. As a hospital system, Beaumont is now reporting the most COVID hospitalizations since December.

“This is people with nothing,” Stokley said. “Heartburn was their only (medical) history.”

Many patients reported catching the virus from family gatherings or spending time with loved ones, Stokley said.

Despite the rise in cases, Governor Whitmer said Friday that she was reluctant to impose any new restrictions on the state now that a vaccine is being widely distributed.

“You don’t have a policy problem,” Whitmer said. “You have a compliance, mobility and variant problem and that’s why vaccines are so important.”

Whitmer and other leaders say the state has the tools to turn the corner.