COVID hospitalizations increasing for younger populations

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The number of younger people hospitalized with COVID-19 is going up in the Ocean State. That’s according to the latest data from the Department of Health.

Doctors inside the emergency room say they’re seeing it, too.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in young adults, what I’d call 20-40,” Jay Schuur, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Rhode Island Hospital said.

Dr. Schuur says the emergency room is getting busier by the day and attributes that to the U.K. variant.

“We know it’s more transmissible, up to twice as transmissible, and we also know it’s more lethal,” Dr. Schuur said.

Data from the Department of Health shows the 20 to 29 age group has seen a 47% increase in hospitalizations. For those 30 to 39, hospitalizations are going up 43%.

While those numbers may appear alarming, Dr. Schuur says we’re talking about low numbers. For example, for those in their 20’s, hospitalizations increased from 17 to 25 in the matter of a few weeks.

“I don’t think we have a serious risk of having COVID overwhelm our hospitals,” Dr. Schuur said. “The cases are in our teens and 20’s and over the winter we were with 100’s of patients in the hospitals.”

Hospitalizations are also decreasing for some age groups, declining 15% for those 65 to 74 and 38% for those older than 75 years old.

They’re also going down for the youngest populations, decreasing 33% for those 0 to 19 years old. However, with that age group, Dr. Schuur says there is some concern that may change because that age group can’t yet get vaccinated.

“It is a concern and with these new variants, it’s probably more of a concern, but the major concern is around adults,” Dr. Schuur said.

For those adults, he says getting the shot is the solution.

“Vaccine eligibility is going to open up to everyone 16 and above in 10 days,” Dr. Schuur said. “That is not a long way off. Everyone will not be able to get it on that first day, but we think it’s going to be widely available very shortly.”

At 5:00 p.m. on Friday, 20,000 vaccine appointments will open for state-run sites on vaccinateri.org. That’s for people 50 and older, but eligibility is expected to open to everyone 16 and older on April 19th.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Rhode Island