Nationally, hospitals are seeing younger COVID-19 patients and Lincoln hospitals are starting to see this trend too

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Throughout the pandemic, preserving hospital capacity and protecting the vulnerable has been the top goal of Nebraska health officials. But now there’s also concern for people who are younger and less likely to get vaccinated.

Across the country, younger and younger people are going to the hospital. NPR reports adults under 50 now account for the most hospitalized patients in the country, making up 35% of all hospital admissions.

In Lincoln, at Bryan Health, doctors are seeing that trend too.

“In the past 14 months our average age of patient was in the high fifties, nearly every month in the sixties, peaking at 68 in October and November when numbers were the worst,” Dr. Lance Schupbach said. “Since then, we’ve seen numbers start to come down.”

The average age of Bryan’s COVID-19 patients was 54 in April, the lowest its been since the start of the pandemic.

Hospitalist Schupbach said there could be two reasons behind this, variants impacting age groups differently and interest in vaccines.

“Healthy people under 60 don’t see what’s in it for them,” Schupbach said. “They don’t know someone who has died or had chronic illness because of COVID-19 and they’re worried about what they’ve heard about the vaccine.”

So far more than 663,000 Nebraskans have been fully vaccinated. Those who are older than 55 make up 52% of all of those shots, but according to the 2019 census data, only make up 29% of the state’s population.

“As we get tired of measures and hear about elders getting vaccinated we are worried we’ll see pockets of people because of parties, bars and weddings were there aren’t enough people vaccinated, not enough herd immunity that we’ll see spikes,” Schupbach said. “I hope we don’t become one of those places.”

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