Positive COVID-19 cases trending up in younger population
As COVID-19 positive cases in the region seem to be heading upwards again, the cases are trending to a younger age group who may not be having as severe illness, according to a physician leader at Reid Health.
Thomas Huth, M.D.,
Vice President of Medical Affairs at Reid Health, has tracked COVID-19 world,
regional and local trends since the pandemic began. While concerned about the
increases in numbers, he does note one good thing so far - the severity of
illness seems to be lessened and the death rate is remaining stable or even
often exceptions to the trends depending on the country or even the state when
looking at the United States," Dr. Huth said. "And this certainly does not mean
we can let up in the precautions such as masking, hand-washing and social
distancing," he said, noting the risk of the younger age group infecting their older and-or
immune-compromised friends and family members.
He said over
the last five months and particularly in July, the infection rate inpeople 20 to 29 has increased from
less than eight percent of positives to 29 percent. Older age groups have
generally declined, with the exception for people age 60-69, going from 20
percent to 43 percent of positive cases.
- Younger adults socializing more without paying attention to masking and social distancing, which may also be true of healthy adults in the 60-69 group
- Older adults are generally being better protected, including those in nursing homes and long-term care facilities because of strict adherence to precautions.
The data from
Reid Health -- though it shows a recent trend upward in the number of confirmed
or suspected inpatients in COVID-19 containment areas - does not show a
parallel increase in the number of COVID patients in Critical Care or on
ventilators. It does show hospitalizations are weighted toward older patients
with big jumps in ages 50-59, 60-69 and over 80.
At the highest
point in late March, Reid Health logged 64 patients in COVID-19 containment
areas. The number slowly trended into the 50s, 40s and 30s before hitting a low
of 11 in early July before starting to go up again. In the last week, the
numbers have gone up to a high of 28 on the 20th; as of Friday, had
dropped to 22.
Stinson, Wayne County Health Department Director, said she believes one reason the local
picture still shows some improvement despite the increase in positive cases is
due to area long-term care facilities and nursing homes doing a good job with
precautions, visitor restrictions and testing.
Because of an
increase in positive tests, Indiana and Ohio are implementing mandatory masking
inside buildings and in public spaces where social distancing can't be accomplished.
Dr. Huth and Stinson strongly recommend all guidelines be followed to try to
keep another wave of illness from occurring.
studies are proving masking is an
effective tool in hindering the spread of COVID-19," Dr. Huth said. "Since it is
becoming clearer this disease spreads through respiratory droplets and even
vapor, and that masking is very effective at capturing droplets and reducing
the distance vapors travel."
"Scientific studies are proving masking is an effective tool in hindering the spread of COVID-19." -- Dr. Thomas Huth