CLEVELAND — Currently there are 70 children in Ohio hospitals battling COVID-19, with hundreds more having tested positive in the last few days.
It's a disturbing trend we haven't seen before now.
"They are sick with COVID, they have COVID pneumonia, they have high respiratory needs, they're on ventilators, they are very sick," says Patty Manning, CEO of Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
Several miles north in Dayton, the situation is similar.
"Almost 40% of the children in our ICU today have COVID. These are numbers we have not seen since the beginning of the pandemic. Clearly COVID has changed with the Delta variant and we are seeing sicker and sicker children," adds Dr. Adam Mezoff from Dayton Children's Hospital.
It's happening locally too.
"At Akron Children's, some of the things we're seeing is about 12 to 15 kids hospitalized per day in the ICU and also on ECMO. Last week, we tested over 3,300 children with 254 positive and 500 more pending results so that could go higher," reports Grace Wakulchik from Akron Children's Hospital.
Patti DePompei, RN from University Hospitals' Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, adds that Rainbow had the highest number of children seen in its ERs "than we've seen in five years."
Hospital CEOs and the Ohio Children's Hospital Association are imploring Ohioans to protect children either by vaccination or by using the tried and true methods of masking, social distancing, and handwashing.
Children's hospitals are already seeing a significant rise in RSV cases, which typically don't show up until cold and flu season. Along with that fact, compounded with Covid and an uncertain flu season, there's another issue of concern.
"We have bed constraints and staffing constraints and staffing constraints are probably more significant right now," says Manning.
Another concern is an unknown: We saw multi-system inflammatory syndrome occur in children last year with COVID. We don't know when the peak will hit with this wave and typically we won't see MIS-C cases until a month or two after the child recovers from COVID. It's another reason why the CEOs are hoping their plea will be listened to by parents and by those who are around children.
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