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Half Of COVID Patients In Mercy Springfield’s ICU Are Younger Than 40

A Mercy Hospital administrator in Springfield says as of Sunday, June 20, half of the hospital's COVID positive patients in the ICU were under the age of 40. Both Mercy and CoxHealth confirm their patients with severe cases of COVID-19 are younger than in previous months of the pandemic.


Erik Frederick, Chief Administrative Officer at Mercy Springfield, confirmed earlier this week that half of the critically ill COVID patients receiving care there are younger than 40.


“When we talk to our physicians who work in the ICU, our intensivists, they generally tell us the patients are sicker,” Frederick said. “The younger patients are more apt to end up on breathing support than they did last year, so whether they’re on a ventilator or on an oxygen support device ... we’re seeing the younger folks on mechanical ventilation versus last year, which they weren’t.”


Mercy Springfield had 78 patients with COVID-19 on Sunday afternoon, Frederick said, and 33 of them were ages 50 and younger.


It's not yet clear whether the rise in severe cases among younger people is due to the newer Delta variant, or the lower vaccination rates among younger populations—or a combination of both factors. See the latest analysis on the Delta variant here.


“We have heard from our hospital partners that more and more younger people, people in their late teens and even early 20s, are being hospitalized and needing the use of ventilators,” acting director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department Katie Towns said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.


Steve Edwards is the president and CEO of CoxHealth, which has seen a nearly six-fold increase in COVID admissions over the past five weeks.


“Anecdotally, one of our physicians told me this weekend that when in, maybe December, the typical patient seemed to be about 80, now they seem to be about 50," Edwards said. "We don't have many elderly patients in the hospital."


According to data provided by CoxHealth, the average age of their COVID-19 hospitalizations at the start of the pandemic was 67 to 68. So far for the month of June, that average age has dropped by a decade to 58. 


Both Mercy and CoxHealth say nearly all of their COVID-19 patients were not vaccinated against the virus. 


To find out about free coronavirus vaccination events in our area, you can visit