Larry Kociolek, a healthcare physician and infectious disease specialist there, told CNN on Monday the number of children who tested positive for Covid-19 at Ann & Children’s Hospital Robert H. Lurie in Chicago.
The number of cases is three times higher than the hospital’s previous peak in December 2020, Kociolek said.
“The number of hospitalizations has quadrupled from our baseline over the past week,” Kociolek told CNN. “Fortunately, a lot of these infections are mild infections or random positives, because we screen all children before the procedure and at the time of admission, and we don’t actually see any change in the number of children admitted to the ICU. ”
Half of all hospital admissions are in children under the age of 5, Kociolek said. Those children are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.
“I think we’re definitely seeing the impact of vaccines on children over the age of five,” said Kociolek. The children admitted to the hospital were all unvaccinated.
About 7% of children who test positive do not have any symptoms, Kociolek said. The sharp increase in the number of cases shows the ability of the Omicron variant to spread.
“Our community activity ended very quickly,” said Kociolek.
Kociolek said the hospital is also concerned about the rise of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, known as MIS-C, in the near future. MIS-C is a rare, but serious condition associated with Covid-19 that can affect children. This usually occurs after an increase in Covid-19 cases. Even children who have had a mild case of Covid-19 can develop MIS-C, often weeks after infection.
“We did not see an increase in MIS-C after the Delta peak, but there is reason to believe that the Delta variant may differ from the Omicron variant in terms of causing MIS-C, so we are cautiously observing those this case,” said Kociolek.
Kociolek said parents also need to be aware that even mild cases of Covid-19 can be contagious. To keep schools open, parents must remember to keep their sick child home from school or any other activity. He also suggests that parents may want to have their children take the test or use the test at home before they return to school. “That way, you can make sure they don’t bring Covid-19 back into the classroom,” says Kociolek.