Pediatric hospitals seeing spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Pediatric hospitals are seeing a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Pediatric hospitals are seeing a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 10:18 AM CST
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(CNN) - COVID-19 hospitalizations for children have soared to a record high with hundreds of children being admitted each day.

In Texas at one of the country’s largest pediatric hospitals, their resources are already being stretched thin.

Four-month-old Grayson Perry is one of many children at Texas Children’s Hospital with COVID-19.

“It’s just really scary, so I just hope that, you know, he’s able to get better and go home,” his mother Gayvielle Goff said.

Goff said she thinks her youngest picked up the virus at a family Christmas gathering.

Nearly 70 children are hospitalized with COVID-19 at Texas Children’s Hospital.

In just the last two weeks, hospitalizations there have increased more than four-fold. Most patients are unvaccinated or not eligible for vaccines.

“Our COVID journey began ... November 29,” Amy Woodruff said. “Me and my daughter both tested positive for COVID.”

Amy Woodruff’s daughter Hallie, 17, has been intubated and in an induced coma for nearly a month.

She also gave birth nearly three weeks ago and does not know any of it.

“She had a C-section in Amarillo on December 9 to a beautiful little baby girl, three pounds, six ounces,” Woodruff said.

She said Hallie has not seen her baby.

From Pampa, Texas, Amy Woodruff’s daughter was moved to Amarillo and then Houston for advanced care.

Hallie’s three-week-old daughter Xylah Faye is 900 miles away in an Amarillo newborn intensive care unit.

“That’s my little girl being away from our little girl. My heart bleeds for her,” Woodruff said.

The omicron variant is ripping through Texas, and the hospital is preparing for even more sick kids as COVID-19 cases skyrocket.

“You know, I think the bar for resilience just keeps moving. You think that, ‘I don’t know how we can do this again,’ and then we keep doing it again,” pediatric ICU nurse manager Nicole Leathers said.

As Texas Children’s Hospital readies for a fourth coronavirus wave, its emergency room is already seeing a spike in kids suffering with mild symptoms. Parents are seeking tests, which is bogging down triage for the seriously ill.

“We’re seeing a lot of patients present with mild respiratory symptoms, cough, congestion, fever, known COVID exposures, etc., that are really, I think a lot of them are really seeking testing,” Dr. Brent Kaziny said.

Like previous waves, the sickest kids, those needing hospitalization, are having a tough time breathing.

“They’re getting a lot of respiratory symptoms as we’ve been expecting, pneumonia and needing respiratory support to help them breathe better,” Dr. Melanie Kitagawa said.

Viral spread is expected to intensify in the weeks ahead, and even if the omicron variant is not as severe, it still puts a strain on healthcare.

“The problem is that with so many children and adults infected, even if the percent hospitalization rate is lower, we still could see more children hospitalized over a very short period of time, and that certainly puts a strain on our health care resources,” said Dr. Jim Versalovic, pathologist-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital.

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