COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — According to the South Carolina Children’s Hospital Collaborative, all children hospitalized at their member hospitals with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
Currently, children under the age of 12 are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
As of Wednesday morning, there are 30 children hospitalized with COVID-19, 13 of those children are in the ICU, and 9 of those children are on a ventilator.
Executive Director Maggie Cash said, “This is very different from what we saw last year.”
According to Cash, 85-95% of the staffed beds at their member hospitals (Prisma Health Children’s Hospital – Upstate, McLeod Children’s Hospital, MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, and Prisma Health Children’s Hospital – Midlands) are in use.
She said they have surge plans in place if things continue to get worse. Cash said, “I’m hopeful people will take this virus seriously. It is a very serious virus and you can’t bank on the fact your child is young and healthy.”
Cash recommends children 12 and older should be vaccinated against COVID-19 and for masks to be worn in schools.
According to DHEC, they are now reporting 5,865 cases associated with South Carolina public and private schools. Director of Public Health Dr Brannon Traxler said we’re about a month into the new school year and the school cases amounts to about 30% of last year’s total school cases.
She said the low vaccination rate, not enough people consistently wearing masks and the Delta variant are what lead to this increase compared to last year.
Dr. Traxler also announced Wednesday they released new interim guidance for schools. It provides thresholds for school districts on when they should transition to virtual learning.
Dr. Traxler said, “In addition, the updated school guidance includes more information on testing, shortened quarantine options and mask wearing.”
Right now, about 33% of South Carolinians between the ages of 12-19 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.