Like other areas, Tidelands Health seeing increase in younger patients hospitalized with COVID-19
Since June 15, just over 50 percent of COVID-19-positive patients hospitalized at Tidelands Health have been under 65 years old.
It’s a reality that dispels the myth that only elderly people become seriously ill from the highly contagious virus.
“Two weeks ago, we shared that we were seeing a higher positivity rate in young people tested for COVID-19,” said Dr. Gerald Harmon, vice president of medical affairs for Tidelands Health. “Now, we’re seeing increasing hospitalizations of young and middle-age individuals.”
Individuals under 65 have accounted for 50.5 percent of COVID-19-positive patients hospitalized at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital and Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital since June 15, with 49.5 percent of those hospitalized 65 and older.
Among those under 65, 38 percent were ages 41-64, 10 percent were ages 26-40 and 2 percent were 25 and younger.
In contrast, those 65 and older accounted for nearly two-thirds of COVID-19 hospitalizations from the beginning of the pandemic through mid-June.
Tidelands Health has seen a dramatic increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past three weeks, as the number of COVID-19-positive patients has climbed from three on June 18 to 47 today with an additional 10 hospitalized patients awaiting COVID-19 test results. The health system’s ICUs are at 96 percent capacity, and the organization is bringing in supplemental nursing staff to help handle the surge.
It’s imperative that community residents take steps now to protect themselves and slow the spread, Dr. Harmon said.
“Don’t believe this virus only affects the elderly – that’s not true,” Dr. Harmon said. “Don’t believe it’s just like the flu – that’s also not true.
“We need the people of our region to recognize this threat and take it seriously. Wear a mask, wash your hands, observe social distancing and avoid large gatherings. These simple steps will help you protect yourself, your loved ones and our community’s health care resources.”