Younger people are getting sicker from COVID, Washington state hospital leaders say

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Hospital leaders Monday said that a fourth wave of COVID-19 is driving up hospitalizations in Washington, that young patients make up an increasing proportion of their workload and that some are suffering from more severe disease than earlier in the pandemic.

“We are seeing younger patients than what we saw in earlier surges: Patients in their 30s, 40s and 50s are being hospitalized,” said Tom DeBord, the chief operating officer of Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, during a news briefing hosted by the Washington State Hospital Association.

At Skagit Valley Regional Health, “the age of the individuals … hospitalized are mostly in their 40s and 50s,” according to Dr. Connie Davis, the organization’s chief medical officer, adding that three patients in their 20s were recently transferred away to benefit from extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — an advanced form of life support.

Davis said younger patients often have obesity in common, a comorbidity associated with severe COVID-19.

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