TAMPA, Fla. — More children are being hospitalized for covid-related illnesses. According to the CDC, during the week of December 22 to 28, about 2,600 children were admitted to hospitals with the coronavirus. That’s a 66% increase from the week before.
“We are bracing for a very busy next few weeks,” said Dr. Allison Messina with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. They currently have eight children hospitalized.
It appears that the omicron variant causes less severe illness compared to the delta variant, but doctors are still concerned for unvaccinated children in our area. “There’re a lot of children who are still unvaccinated and how well they’re going to do completely unvaccinated against omicron is, still, I think, a question.”
The CDC says about 14% of children ages 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated and about 53% of children ages 12 to 17 have been fully vaccinated. The vaccine still has not been approved for children under 5. “They’re about to go back to school where they will, necessarily, encounter more disease because they’re going to be in a classroom with so many other people.”
Dr. Messina recommends the following if you plan on gathering with other people for a New Year’s celebration.
- Keep the gathering small with other people who have been vaccinated.
- Have the party in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside.
- Wear a mask.
“I know it makes for a little bit of challenging logistics sometimes for parties, but it will help keep people safer.” Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital told ABC Action News they are asking people to not bring their children there to get tested, as they are not a testing facility and want to be able to focus on actual emergencies.
Here is a link with information about testing sites