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SC Children’s hospitals see rise in pediatric COVID cases, nearing pandemic records

South Carolina pediatricians are worried the number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 in...
South Carolina pediatricians are worried the number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state will soon break records.(WIS)
Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 6:33 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2022 at 8:55 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina pediatricians are worried the number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state will soon break records.

At the peak of the surge of the delta variant of the coronavirus, the South Carolina Children’s Hospital Collaborative, a group that includes all four of the state’s children’s hospitals, 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.

The numbers are a dire warning that doctors from Prisma Health hoped to emphasize on a call...
The numbers are a dire warning that doctors from Prisma Health hoped to emphasize on a call with reporters Thursday: coronavirus doesn’t care how old you are.(WIS)

The numbers are a dire warning that doctors from 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 one-month-old in her hospital.

“Babies [are] developing a fever, and that often precipitates their need for admission,” she said.

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,” Dr. Taylor said.

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