CAMERON COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The delta variant is keeping area hospitals near capacity as the third wave of COVID-19 hospitalizations continues.
Dr. James Castillo, the Cameron County health authority told KVEO that the average age of COVID-19 deaths is starting to trend younger.
“This week we reported deaths in people who were in their 20s, 30s, 40s,” Castillo said.
People in their 20s, 30s and 40s dying from COVID-19 is not new, even early on in the pandemic people in those age ranges were dying from the disease. The difference is now they are dying at a higher rate.
“In the wintertime, the average age of a person who died of COVID was 71, and this time around its 65 and getting younger,” Castillo said.
People who are hospitalized with COVID-19 that are under 65 tend to stay in the hospital for longer before dying. That means fewer hospital beds are available as more of the younger patients are admitted to the hospital.
Hospitals have been operating near capacity for weeks, and the more beds are filled, the lower the quality of care becomes as doctors and nurses are stretched thin.
“Whenever the hospitals are extremely busy, mortality goes up pretty much across the board, not just for COVID,” Castillo explained.
Nearly 1,800 people have died from COVID-19 in Cameron County. 630 of those deaths have happened since the first COVID-19 vaccines arrived in December 2020.
Very few of those deaths are from people who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19. According to Castillo, “since the vaccines become available there’s been 15 deaths” of people fully vaccinated. That amounts to around 2%.
Cameron County COVID-19 reports show that one person died per day on average during June and early July. At times in August, more deaths were reported in one day than died in a week during June.
“Typically when you’re in the hospital what you’ll hear is ‘Code blue in the COVID unit’ and then you hear it again and again and again,” Castillo said, describing the frustration that doctors feel while dealing with another surge in COVID deaths. “For patients, for healthcare providers, for the whole teams there, it’s really distressing to hear that.”