Pediatricians say COVID Delta variant sending more children to the hospital – WFTV

ORLANDO, Florida — Pediatricians at two hospitals in Central Florida say the COVID-19 Delta variant is making some completely healthy children very sick.

According to a pediatrician at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, one child died last week from complications from COVID-19 and another is currently on a ventilator.

“Unlike the beginning of the pandemic, when the virus didn’t seem to do much in children, it is now making children sick,” said Dr. Kenneth Alexander.

READ: 38% of eligible children in Florida have received at least one vaccine against COVID-19, data shows

Alexander is the head of the infectious diseases department at Nemours. He says the number of children admitted with COVID-19 in all hospitals in Central Florida is rising.

“The most important gesture of love you can give your child right now is putting on a mask.”

The head of Infectious Diseases at @Nemours says that of all children entering the hospital, 1 in 4 are testing (+) for Covid19. Why he says kids are getting sicker now on @WFTV on 6. https://t.co/lFUcaVcyQf

— Lauren Seabrook (@LSeabrookWFTV) August 6, 2021

On Friday, Arnold Palmer Hospital had admitted eight children to intensive care. Nemours reported seven with two in the ICU, including those on a ventilator.

“The youngest patient currently in our hospital on a ventilator has no specific risk factors,” said Dr. Alexander. “The deceased child had a number of complex underlying medical problems.”

According to Dr Vincent Hsu of AdventHealth, they had 20 COVID-19 patients under the age of 18 as of Monday. He said that seemed higher than in previous weeks.

However, AdventHealth says it will no longer provide updates on the number of children they have admitted with COVID-19. The hospital has not explained why it made that decision.

READ: Florida doctors, teachers call on Governor DeSantis to reverse order of blocking COVID mandates in schools

The Central Florida Disaster Medical Coalition pulls information from Health and Human Services to share daily updates statewide with hospitals and emergency managers.

The most recent report — obtained by WFTV — shows 143 children hospitalized in the state with COVID-19, an increase from the previous day.

Just confirmed 1 child has died of Covid-19 in Orange County. Another child with no underlying health problems is on the air.

This report I obtained on the Covid-19 crisis in FL shows 143 children hospitalized statewide. Why pediatricians say Delta is different with kids on @WFTV on 4,5,6. pic.twitter.com/mo0LPsIkpO

— Lauren Seabrook (@LSeabrookWFTV) August 6, 2021

There are also more than 12,000 adults hospitalized in Florida and 39 hospitals reporting critical staff shortages, according to the report.

The only category in which the report showed overnight improvement was the total number of hospital beds in use in the state, at 84 percent. However, it also shows that more than 88 percent of ICU beds are used.

dr. Alexander says he hopes the data will serve as a reminder for people to get vaccinated and wear masks, especially parents preparing to send their children back to school.

READ: Orange County Schools To Require Face Masks For Students Unless Parents Say They Opt Out

“The idea that you’re safer without a mask is tantamount to saying you can drive more safely on the highway without a seatbelt and airbags,” said Dr. Alexander. “There is no justification for this.”

According to Dr. Alexander, about 25 percent of all children admitted to Nemours for things other than COVID-19 still test positive for the virus.

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