COVID-19 Variant Cases Emerge And Hospitalizations Rise In Berrien Co.

Mar 31, 2021

Berrien County health officials give a virtual COVID-19 update on Wednesday, March 31.
Credit Captured via Facebook Live

Berrien County health officials say the county’s increase in COVID-19 cases hasn’t been as steep as in other areas of Michigan – but they say cases are once again on the rise. 

County Health Officer Nicki Britten said the rise could be partly attributed to the presence of more contagious variants in the county. She said Berrien County has had 12 confirmed cases of the U.K. variant so far.


Hospitalizations in the county are also rising, especially among younger people. Dr. Loren Hamel, president of Spectrum Health Lakeland, said the average age of individuals admitted to Lakeland is about 10 years younger now than it was just a few weeks ago. 


“We’ve admitted children," he said. "We have folks less than 30 on ventilators in the ICU. We have more in their forties and fifties.”


But, Hamel said that’s also evidence of the vaccine’s success. He said hospitals would be inundated with elderly patients by now if most of them hadn’t received a vaccine.


Britten said Berrien County is expecting more vaccine doses in the coming week. She and Hamel both encouraged county residents age 16 and up to make an appointment as soon as they can.


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