No San Francisco children are hospitalized with COVID, even as pediatric hospitals overflow elsewhere

Children’s hospitals in COVID hotspots across the country have been filled to breaking point. In Dallas, where pediatric hospitals are full, district judge Clay Jenkins told reporters on Friday that “your child just won’t go on a ventilator” and will instead be flown to another place for care. Florida’s Broward County said Friday its pediatric intensive care units were at 100% capacity.

In the Bay Area, however, the numbers look much more manageable, with COVID patients in the single digits in children’s hospitals, while coronavirus cases have risen among both children and adults due to the highly contagious delta variant.

According to the city’s Department of Health, no children living in San Francisco are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19.

At UCSF’s two children’s hospitals — one in San Francisco and the other in Oakland — numbers have risen recently but remain in the single digits. On Aug. 13, 9 children were hospitalized with COVID-19, UCSF said, up from 2 on July 13 and 4 on June 13.

At Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, the number of pediatric patients hospitalized with COVID has fluctuated between 3 and 6 in the past two weeks, spokesperson Erin Digitale said. That’s an increase from mid-May to July, when the numbers fluctuated between zero and 2, but the current numbers are still below the winter peak.

It’s “completely manageable in terms of bed capacity,” she said, adding that while the hospital doesn’t monitor MIS-C cases on a daily basis — a disease in children can develop inflammation of multiple organ systems long after the initial coronavirus infection is over — the numbers were “quite low” during the pandemic.

The Bay Area’s good record of hospital admissions is likely due to high adult vaccination rates — which help protect children when the kids under 12 can’t get shots yet — and mask mandates. dr. However, Donna White Carey, a pediatrician and who runs a community-based contact tracing program through her parish True Vine Ministries, noted that hospitalization rates are lagging and that children are vulnerable when they get multiple respiratory infections, more likely to fall into the trap. .

“As we go into winter, the story will change,” White Carey said. “We are going to see more children in the hospital.”

dr. Vincent Tamariz, director of pediatric emergency medicine at California Pacific Medical Center’s Van Ness campus, said he saw an increase in children coming through the emergency room with coughing and respiratory symptoms testing positive for COVID-19. Most do not require hospitalization.

He and others said the moment calls for vigilance.

“The jury is still out on whether delta is more virulent in children,” Tamariz said. “The jury has not yet decided whether you will receive more (hospital) admissions. More children will be hospitalized if more children get sick.”

Julie Johnson, Ryan Kost and Aidin Vaziri are authors of the San Francisco Chronicle. Email:

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