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Health safety protocols advised as COVID variant spread among infected elementary students

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Spectrum Health provided a COVID-19 update Wednesday. The hospital is hopeful the area has reached a peak in cases. The concern is that the COVID B.1.1.7. variant is now the prevalent strain. How is it spreading and who’s at risk?

The B.1.1.7. COVID variant is 50 to 75% more contagious than previous strains. Spectrum is reporting 291 patients systemwide being treated. Dr. Dr. Darryl Elmouchi is President Spectrum Health West Michigan, he says that’s a 20% increase over last week. Seventy of those patients have been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.

“Today in our hospital the average age of a patient with COVID-19 is 57. This is almost a decade younger than they were during the last surge, and 15% of the people hospitalized at Spectrum Health with COVID-19 are under the age of 40.”

Young, healthy people without preexisting conditions and children are becoming very sick. The variant is displaying a tendency to spread easily among infected elementary school students.

“As of today, we have 10 patients who are admitted to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital with COVID symptomatology and five of those are currently in our ICU setting.”

Dr. Houssain Marandi is President of Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. He and the entire staff are asking everyone continue practicing and modelling prevention measures for young people and getting vaccinated limiting virus spread.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.
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