Berrien County raising alarm on increased cases, hospitalizations of younger adults

NOW: Berrien County raising alarm on increased cases, hospitalizations of younger adults

NILES, Mich. -- Berrien County sits at an average of 48 new cases per day with a 10 percent test positivity rate.

While those numbers aren’t nearly as high as we’ve seen at some points, they’ve doubled in just a few weeks. 

“The situation is not unique in Berrien County, the state of Michigan is seeing an increase in cases more so than many other states in the country,” said Nicki Britten, MPH, Health Officer at the Berrien County Health Department.

What makes it so concerning is that it’s hitting a younger age group – those in their 30s and even teens — a group that has been able to rely on research that says they’ll likely recover quickly from COVID-19.

But as more get infected, it’s a harsh reminder of how serious the virus is.

“We have folks less than 30 on ventilators in the ICU, the average age of those who have been admitted is about 10 years younger,” said Loren Hamel, MD, President of Spectrum Health Lakeland.

One thing officials noted during their Facebook live Wednesday is the vaccine is playing a part in this shift in the more vulnerable age group. 

“It’s possible what we’re really seeing is the absence of hundreds of cases amongst adults who are now very well protected,” said Britten.

But the fact that more young people are getting hospitalized is why they’re asking this group to be vigilant. 

“If enough people get infected somebody’s going to end up in the hospital, in the ICU on a ventilator, or somebody’s going to die,” said Dr. Hamel.

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