COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lead experts with Nationwide Children's Hospital detailed a rise in children hospitalized with COVID-19 and respiratory illnesses during a briefing on Monday, urging parents to get vaccinated as more children return to the classroom.
In the span of one week, the amount of patients being treated for COVID-19 at the hospital has doubled to roughly 20. Of those patients, Chief Medical Officer Rustin Morse says 75% are acutely ill.
Morse said, as of Monday, five children are in the hospital's ICU being treated for COVID-19, and two of those children are currently on a ventilator.
The briefing comes during what health officials have said is a rise in reported cases of RSV; a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms in children.
Just last week, the Ohio Department of Health reported an “unexpected” rise of respiratory illnesses in children, including RSV, parainfluenza virus and Rhinovirus.
As of Monday, roughly 40 children are currently in the hospital being treated for RSV.
"This is exceptionally atypical for the summer. This is volumes that we would typically see in the winter months, not in the summer months," said Morse.
Despite the recent surge, Morse said the hospital is not dealing with capacity issues. Currently, Nationwide Children's sits at 70% capacity.
"We are not on any sense of diversion and we have not turned patients away and we are continuing to take patients from referring hospitals who need pediatric care," said Morse, adding the hospital is also in better shape in terms of staffing.
Even so, Morse noted a concern over a rising intake of pediatric patients as more children return to in-person learning.
"With COVID-19 on the rise, we may be approaching a perilous situation," said Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff during a press conference last Thursday.
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