Health experts anticipate influx of older virus patients
BOISE, Idaho — Hospitals are preparing for a potential influx of older patients after a recent spike in coronavirus infections among young people visiting bars who are likely bringing the illness home to their parents and grandparents, a health expert said Friday.
Barton Hill, vice president and chief quality officer of St. Luke’s Health System, said most of the people testing positive recently have been in their 20s and 30s.
Most aren’t “sick enough to need hospitalization,” he said, but noted several people in their 20s did need to be hospitalized. “I think probably it’s going to be the family units where it’s going to spread to more at-risk populations.”
He also said young adults working in senior living facilities also have the potential to bring the illness into that vulnerable population.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
“The older patients are going to be the ones who are really going to put the pinch on our health care,” Hill said.