Majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the Des Moines metro are unvaccinated

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DES MOINES, Iowa — According to the CDC, there is a surge in hospitalizations among Americans who have yet to be vaccinated. 

COVID-19 hospitalizations are down compared to last year at all local facilities. However, UnityPoint, Broadlawns, and MercyOne all report that 95% to 99% of their COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.

“It’s become almost as President Biden mentioned, has become the two pandemics. Pandemic of people with vaccination is very different and then pandemic of people without the vaccination,” Broadlawns Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Yogesh Shah said. 

UnityPoint Health currently has nine COVID-19 patients, Dr. Best said besides more patients battling congestion, they’re experiencing normal COVID-19 symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, and diarrhea. 

However, unlike last year, a majority of these patients are under the age of 60. 

According to the CDC, slightly fewer than half of the people in the U.S ages 18 to 40 are fully vaccinated. The number is even lower for children 12 to 18.

UnityPoint Health and Broadlawns expressed there are no problems with taking care of COVID-19 patients now.  However, Dr. Best with UnityPoint says issues might arise down the line with more people coming into the hospital for different illnesses. 

“The majority of the hospital’s ERs are getting full now with all these other issues that we were not seeing last year. So if we get another wave of COVID-19 hospitals are going to be in a bad situation and we are already seeing that in the states, such as Missouri and Kansas,” Dr. Best said.

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