While recent seven-day averages concerning COVID-19-related hospitalizations across the country have remained stable, health officials in Michigan have noted an “alarming” rise among unvaccinated individuals. In the first three weeks of March, officials tallied a 633 percent increase in hospitalizations among adults ages 30-39 and an increase of 800 percent among those ages 40-49.
“Michigan is making progress at ultimately defeating the COVID-19 pandemic through increasing vaccination rates, but the war is not yet over,” Gary Roth, DO, Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) medical officer, said in a news release. “Now is not the time to let our guard down and risk contracting COVID-19 with more contagious variants emerging and vaccines becoming widely available.”
On Monday, the state opened up vaccine eligibility to adults ages 50 and up, as well as people ages 16 and up who have disabilities or other medical conditions. Caregivers and guardians of eligible people ages 16 and up are also now able to get the vaccine. The state will open up eligibility to all adults beginning April 5.
“My prescription to all Michiganders is to wear your mask, wash your hands, avoid crowds and when it is your turn, get your vaccine,” Roth said. “You must continue to take preventative measures even after you’re vaccinated because it takes at least two weeks for a vaccine’s full protection to kick in following the last dose and it will take time to vaccinate everyone.”
The data showed a correlation between hospitalization rates and vaccination rates among older populations. Those aged 80 and over had both the highest vaccination rate hovering between 40 and 50 percent and also saw the lowest hospitalization rates near 0 percent. Officials said the correlation shows the effectiveness of the vaccines.
“The data also indicates that, although older adults still have a higher risk of hospitalizations, the percentage of hospitalized patients who are younger than 40 years old has doubled, showing that adults of any age are vulnerable to complications from the disease,” the news release said.
The state has seen over 636,600 COVID-19 cases and nearly 16,000 deaths.