With Pediatric ICU Beds Running Low, Doctors Urge Parents To Consider Options Before Bringing Sick Kids To Urgent Care – WCCO
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota hospitals are under pressure to care for adults amid the current surge in COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, children’s hospitals are also feeling the pressure.
The Minnesota Department of Health reports that 131 pediatric ICU beds are currently in use statewide. There are only 15 (7%) available.
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“Over the past week, at Children’s Minnesota, we’ve received an average of about 20 patients per day who have tested positive for COVID-19 and need to be hospitalized,” said Dr. Gabrielle Hester, Director of Quality Improvement at Children’s. Minnesota.
She says there is a common misconception that children don’t get sick from COVID-19. Compared to adults, children have a lower risk of developing serious complications.
“Unfortunately, I have seen firsthand how seriously ill children can become with COVID-19,” Hester said.
She says children who are hospitalized have trouble breathing or develop childhood multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MISC).
Experts say the best thing parents can do to protect children is to get them vaccinated. The state also offers monoclonal antibodies for certain high-risk children.
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Currently, health officials say they are offering the antibody treatment to children over the age of 12 who are at risk for severe COVID. However, the FDA has recently extended the eligibility to the youngest pediatric patients, even newborns.
Medical work is underway to determine risk criteria for monoclonal antibody treatments for children under 12 years of age.
According to Hester, in addition to COVID, Children’s Minnesota also sees many patients with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the flu.
While Hester encourages families to seek care when their child is sick, she encourages them to see if there is a better option before going to the emergency room or emergency department.
“Often the pediatrician or outpatient clinic will be well equipped to care for the child and get the help they need in the time they need it,” Hester said.
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