The CDC announced that hospitalization rates among children for COVID-19 across the nation are at its highest point than at any other time in the pandemic. Dr. Carl Eriksson, of OHSU, said that the same is true for Oregon. This was to be expected since kids are going to school versus digital learning. The local health department has even allowed children back to school that have tested positive for the virus.
“Right now we have more children hospitalized with active COVID infections in Oregon than we have at any point during the pandemic,” Eriksson said. As of January 10, there were 19 children across the state of Oregon hospitalized for COVID-19. Six of those pediatric patients are being treated at OHSU and ten are being treated at Legacy. These numbers are constantly changing. “It’s not a very high number but keep in mind that it is relatively uncommon for children to be hospitalized. It is a number that we are watching very closely,” Eriksson said.”
He said they’re seeing children hospitalized both specifically for COVID-19 and also for other conditions when they also test positive for COVID, but he said they need more data to know if there is a trend either way.
“We’re seeing a combination of kids who have severe COVID infection and are very sick with COVID itself, that’s at the severe end of the spectrum. At the milder end of the spectrum is maybe somebody who has COVID and it’s either caused an exacerbation of an underlying chronic illness or sometimes is actually asymptomatic where we can’t really see a clear reason for it to be tied to the hospitalization,” he said.
C.D.C.’s director, Dr. Walensky said. However, only 16 percent of children 5 through 11 are fully vaccinated.
“Sadly, we are seeing the rates of hospitalizations increasing for children 0 to 4, who are not yet currently eligible for Covid-19 vaccination,” she said. “It’s critically important that we surround them with people who are vaccinated to provide them protection.”
The agency has also updated recommendations for isolation of teachers and students infected with the coronavirus, and quarantine for those exposed to the virus, Dr. Walensky said.
Dr. Mezoff said one concern with the current surge is that long-covid symptoms arise weeks to months later and experts don’t know the full effect it could have just in children and teens. Mezoff explained it’s estimated the surge will be over in four to six weeks, but not without the community doing its part. Now he’s pleading with the public to mask up, get vaccinated and refrain from large gatherings. “There is no extra help. Because all the hospitals in our state are challenged by this. There isn’t a pool of people that can pitch in and help out. This is all-hands-on-deck. Everybody who can help is helping. That’s why we need the community’s help to support the people who are really trying hard to do the best that they can,” Mezoff said.