New study shows children hospitalized with COVID has increased 4,000% in six months

Arizona is one of the leaders in children hospitalized with COVID-19, seeing a 4,000% spike in...
Arizona is one of the leaders in children hospitalized with COVID-19, seeing a 4,000% spike in six months (AZ Family).(AZ Family)
Updated: Jan. 16, 2021 at 1:27 PM MST
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PHOENIX, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - With alarming COVID numbers in Arizona comes a rise in child hospitalizations. A new medical study shows Arizona has one of the most significant spikes in COVID pediatric hospitalizations over the past six months in the entire country.

Now parents and doctors are speaking out.

“It’s heart-wrenching because there’s absolutely nothing you can do as a parent, but just sit there and pray and hope and have faith,” said Marissa King. It was one of the hardest things her and her family have been through.

King’s now 13-year-old daughter, Joelle, was hospitalized with COVID-19 and multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) for two weeks in July.

“Joelle has some serious heart damage from COVID,” King said. “We don’t know if her heart will ever fully recover from it.”

Though most children won’t be hospitalized from the virus, the numbers are growing. Phoenix Children’s Hospital is seeing this first-hand.

“In the past, let’s say month, has it been the highest amount of COVID patients you have had during the pandemic?” asked reporter Briana Whitney.

“Yeah. And again, that’s following what the state is seeing in general,” said Dr. Wassim Ballan. Dr. Ballan is the Associate Director for Infection Prevention at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

She says because Arizona is in the middle of a major virus surge, childhood cases that require hospitalization are paralleling that.

“Typically, when we’re seeing patients admitted to the hospital, there’s usually multiple family members at home that are positive at the same time,” said Dr. Ballan. “Are we concerned about the situation? Absolutely. There’s obviously a lot of alarm with how this situation may evolve.”

According to a new study by the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), from May 2020 to November 2020, Arizona went from barely having one child hospitalized with the virus per 100,000 people to having about 33 kids hospitalized per 100,000 just six months later, which is a 4,000% increase.

Dr. Ballan said it’s imperative for all families to help slow the spread in Arizona to get these numbers down; but if you’re a family with a child in the hospital with COVID right now, Marissa has a message.

“Stay strong. Keep the faith. You’re not alone,” King said.

Dr. Ballan said a piece of positive news is that the kids admitted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for COVID-19 are almost all recovering and able to be discharged.

He said parents should look out for breathing issues or very high fevers with their kids when it comes to the virus; and to call your pediatrician for advice on the next step. If things worsen, go to the hospital.

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