CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Doctors at MUSC are expressing concern after two months of exceptionally high pediatric COVID-19 admissions.
According to Dr. Allison Eckard, the hospital is “seeing many more kids who are severely affected by COVID.”
During August and September, MUSC reports 74 pediatric COVID-19 patients were admitted. That accounts for 40% of all pediatric COVID-19 admissions since the onset of the pandemic.
Out of the 74 admitted over that two-month period, 14 were put on ventilators and four were put on “a last resort form of life support” called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). ECMO “involves a machine that oxygenates the blood when a person’s lungs aren’t working.”
In addition to COVID-19, cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) nearly doubled in September. According to MUSC, “cases during this one month equaled nearly 25% of total cases at MUSC Children’s Health since the beginning of the pandemic.”
Eckard attributes the spike to the highly-contagious Delta variant as well as “a relatively low vaccination rate, especially among children age 12 to 17” and the relaxing of mitigation measures in schools, such as mask wearing and social distancing.
According to Eckard, none of the pediatric COVID patients were fully vaccinated upon arrival. She says that the vaccine is proven to be safe and effective, and hopes more families will consider it.