The number of children testing positive for Covid-19 at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago is “incredibly high,” Dr. Larry Kociolek, an attending physician and infectious disease specialist there, told DailyExpertNews Monday.
The number of cases is three times higher than the hospital’s previous peak in December 2020, Kociolek said.
“The number of hospital admissions has quadrupled from our baseline in the past week,” Kociolek told DailyExpertNews. “Fortunately, many of these infections are either mild infections or incidental positives, as we screen all children before the procedures and at the time of admission, and we have actually seen no change in the number of children admitted to the ICU. ”
Half of the hospital admissions were in children under the age of five, Kociolek said. These children are not yet eligible for vaccination.
“I think we’re definitely seeing the impact of vaccines in children over the age of 5. The kids who are hospitalized are essentially all unvaccinated,” Kociolek said.
Kociolek said about 7% of children who test positive have no symptoms at all. The sharp rise in the number of cases shows how contagious the Omicron variant is.
“Our community activity just stopped very, very quickly,” Kociolek said.
Kociolek said the hospital is also concerned about an increase in childhood multisystem inflammatory syndrome known as MIS-C in the near future. MIS-C is a rare but serious Covid-19-related condition that can affect children. The condition usually occurs after there has been a spate of Covid-19 cases. Even children who have had mild Covid-19 cases can develop MIS-C, usually several weeks after infection.
“We did not see an increase in MIS-C after the Delta peak, but there is reason to believe that the Delta variant may be different from the Omicron variant in terms of causing MIS-C, so we observe this cases carefully,” said Kociolek. .
Kociolek said it’s also important for parents to keep in mind that even mild cases of Covid-19 can be contagious. In order to keep schools open, parents should remember to keep their sick children home from school or other activities. He also suggested that parents may want to have their children tested or use a home test before returning to school. “That way you can make sure they don’t bring Covid-19 back to the classroom,” Kociolek said.