Diamond Children’s Medical Center reports rise in pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations

Pediatric hospitalizations

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -COVID-19 hospitalizations remain high in Arizona, and a small percentage are children.

Data from the state’s largest hospital network shows the number of pediatric patients admitted this month is already six times higher than it was in October.

“Fortunately, the kids we are seeing who do get sick generally do quite well,” said Dr. Chan Lowe, the division chief of pediatric medicine at Banner Diamond Children’s Hospital. “It’s really kids of all ages. I’d say we are seeing some newborns, but that is probably a smaller percentage. The biggest group we are seeing is in that sort of single [to] older digits; 8,9,10,11-year-olds. Certainly, we are seeing some teenagers as well.”

Dr. Lowe says COVID-19 symptoms in children are similar to adults.

“Cough, congestion, difficulty breathing, needing some extra oxygen,” he said.

In rare cases, he says kids have been brought to the ICU.

“We have had kids end up on a ventilator,” Dr. Lowe said.

However, Dr. Lowe is not aware of any pediatric COVID-19 deaths at Diamond Children’s.

Banner Health recently released a report showing its hospitalizations (statewide) in those 0 to 18-years-old have been on the rise since October.

Pediatric COVID hospitalizations
Pediatric COVID hospitalizations (Source: Banner Health)

Dr. Lowe says Diamond Children’s has seen a similar increase. Especially in January.

“It’s probably in the 10 to 20 [admissions] range,” he said. “Prior to that, we were used to seeing 1 or 2 a month.”

He says a high community spread puts more people at risk of contracting the virus and means more children could end up in the hospital.

With many fearing hospital settings these days, Dr. Lowe says staff are sometimes playing catch up with patients whose parents waited too long to seek help.

“If kids are doing okay, it’s certainly okay to stay home,” he said. “But if they are sick and you are concerned, please come in and let us take a look and make sure they are okay.”

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