GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The patient population at a Grand Rapids children's hospital facility is mirroring a recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Wednesday at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, officials reported the highest number of COVID patients since the start of the pandemic: 22.
Of the pediatric patients, 2/3 are hospitalized with a primary COVID-related diagnosis and 11 are in the ICU.
The patients range in age from babies to 17 years old.
"One tenth of our patients currently are admitted for COVID-19," Dr. Hossain Marandi, the Children's Hospital president, says.
Dr. Marandi says those in critical care are struggling to breathe or facing multi-system failure.
Officials have also seen more multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children over the last few weeks than at any time in the pandemic with 4 to 5 cases each week.
"That's why it's important for us to make sure we care for our kids to avoid this infection and when they do, take care to make sure they do well and not spread it to anyone else," Dr. Marandi says.
As of last week, the hospital has admitted 478 kids to HDVCH with COVID+ since the beginning of the pandemic.
Over half of those admissions have been since August 2021 (when the state's most recent surge began). Of the 478, only 11 had been fully vaccinated with 2 doses of an mRNA vaccine.
"This, again, is almost entirely a serious problem in kids only if they're unvaccinated," Spectrum Health West Michigan President Dr. Darryl Elmouchi says. "We're very much hoping that as eligibility increases, that more and more kids get vaccinated, and those that are eligible get boosters."
Spectrum Health confirmed that it's now had three COVID-19 deaths in children.
"That's why it's important that as the disease has turned more to kids, it's even more opportunity for us to be responsible and care for them," Dr. Marandi says.
The CDC says getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect children ages 5 years and older from getting COVID-19.
- Vaccinating children can help protect family members, including siblings who are not eligible for vaccination and family members who may be at increased risk of getting very sick if they are infected.
- Vaccination can also help keep children from getting seriously sick even if they do get COVID-19.
- Vaccinating children ages 5 years and older can help keep them in school and help them safely participate in sports, playdates, and other group activities.
Click here to find a vaccine near you.
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