Natchez doctor says hospital seeing more younger patients stricken with COVID-19 than when outbreak first started

Published 12:45 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2021

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Dr. Christopher Martin, a Natchez general surgeon who has been involved in treating COVID patients in the hospital since the virus outbreak began in March 2020, said he and other physicians are seeing younger patients with COVID compared to the ages of those who were infected during the first outbreak that began in March 2020.

“We are seeing younger patients with this virus. We had a girl in her 30s die yesterday. I know in Jackson, they have had lots of pediatric patients with COVID, even on ventilators,” he said.

The numbers of COVID patients at Merit Health Natchez remained steady over the weekend, Martin said.

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“It’s still the same. The hospital is still full. We still have patients being held in the ER. The ICU is still full. We are seeing lots of positive tests,” he said.

The vast majority of patients who need to be hospitalized because of COVID have not been vaccinated, Martin said. While there are exceptions, like a 63-year-old  Adams County woman who died this weekend, patients who have been vaccinated and contract the virus fare much better than those who have not.

Adams County Coroner James Lee reported that the 63-year-old woman had been vaccinated in February and March, but it is unknown whether the she had underlying conditions that contributed to her death.

“It’s the same story. Those who are unvaccinated are the ones driving up the hospital numbers. If you are vaccinated, you can still get it, but your symptoms are not as severe.”

Martin said physicians at Merit Health Natchez are seeing “lots of success” with monoclonal antibody infusions.

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that can help the body fight off antigens, like viruses.

“If you have an early positive COVID test, monoclonal antibody infusions can help,” he said. The best defense against COVID, Martin said, is getting vaccinated.