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October unclear for CHKD, after hospital sees 'busiest' month of the pandemic

CHKD is asking families not to overload emergency rooms by making appointments if a child shows possible COVID-19 symptoms.

NORFOLK, Va. — A busy September spells an unpredictable month of October for the Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters.

“We have had more patients specifically with COVID, as opposed to getting admitted for something else and then happen to have COVID," Dr. Laura Sass, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist with CHKD said.

As the month comes to a close, Sass says the hospital saw its busiest month through the entire pandemic. 

As of Tuesday, the hospital recorded more than 1,500 positive COVID cases, with 57 hospitalizations and counting. Six of those patients contracted MIS-C, a COVID-related illness among school-age children. Compared to the month of August, there were only 2 patients that contracted MIS-C. 

“This is the most we’ve seen during the pandemic, almost double that from any other month we’ve seen previously," Sass said. 

None of these patients have been vaccinated, and include both children who are too young to be eligible for a vaccine as well as people who are eligible but have not decided to get a shot. 

"The number of hospitalizations have included from several weeks old to their early 20s," Sass said. 

This comes at a time when many children in the commonwealth are still unvaccinated. 

According to the Virginia Department of Health, more than half of the state's 12-15-year-olds eligible for the vaccine are fully vaccinated. 

However, for the seven cities of Hampton Roads, that percentage of the population that's fully vaccinated drops to 41%.

 As for what this could mean for the month of October, Sass says it's unclear whether cases will go up or down.

“We’ll see what happens as time goes on, I hope we see a downtrend in cases, but I don’t think we can say that yet. I think this will continue a little while longer," Sass said. 

COVID testing also hit a high at CHKD, with roughly 20,000 tests administered in the month of September.

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