Child hospitalizations for COVID soar in two-state region
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Pediatricians in Georgia and South Carolina are worried about the number of children hospitalized with COVID-19.
The American Academy of Pediatrics confirms cases among children have more than doubled in one week’s time and according to CNN, hospitals across the country are seeing a surge of children requiring hospitalization.
While the numbers aren’t as dire at Children’s Hospital of Georgia as they seem elsewhere, they are rising here. About a month ago, the hospital was hovering around zero or one pediatric COVID patient at a time. On Wednesday, that number was seven.
At the peak of the surge of the delta variant of the coronavirus, the South Carolina Children’s Hospital Collaborative reported 38 children hospitalized with COVID-19. On Wednesday, that number was 37. And while the overall number went down by Thursday, more children were reported to be in critical care than earlier in the week.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta says it currently has 118 patients in its hospitals due to COVID-19. Of those children, 74% have at least one pre-existing medical condition. This is an increase from Dec. 28 when there were 62 children hospitalized. On Dec. 21, there was 22 children hospitalized.
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The numbers are a dire warning that doctors from South Carolina’s Prisma Health hoped to emphasize on a call with reporters Thursday: coronavirus doesn’t care how old you are.
“We have healthy teenagers who are coming in and becoming quite ill and needing to go on ventilatory support,” said Dr. Robin LaCroix, Prisma Health pediatric infectious disease specialist.
LaCroix also said she has seen patients as young as a month old in her hospital.
LaCroix and her colleague in the Midlands, Dr. Caughman Taylor, stressed that of the 31 children who are currently hospitalized with the coronavirus in South Carolina, all of them are unvaccinated.
According to the Children’s Hospital Collaborative, 10 of the children are not eligible to receive the vaccine but 21 are eligible and remain unvaccinated.
“These children are unimmunized, and our belief is that when you have those antibodies from the vaccine, it helps modify the infection enough that your body can cope with the infection and respond to it,” Dr. LaCroix said.
And doctors are concerned that as kids continue to go back to school and gather as COVID surges in the state again, hospitals will be spread thin with people who are not taking all the precautions necessary to protect themselves from COVID-19.
“While it is true that Omicron is less virulent illness and children tend to do better, if a large number of people and children are infected there will be more hospitalizations as well,” Taylor said.
From reports by WIS, WGCL and WRDW/WAGT
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