After weeks with no children admitted to Norton Children’s Hospital with COVID-19, there are now typically two or three in the hospital at any time being treated for the disease.
After weeks with no children admitted to Norton Children’s Hospital with COVID-19, there are now typically two or three in the hospital at any time being treated for the disease, according to Kristina A. Bryant, M.D., physician with Norton Children’s Infectious Diseases, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, and the hospital epidemiologist at Norton Children’s Hospital.
The small uptick comes as the more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus infects primarily unvaccinated people around the country, and more Kentucky counties report more than 25 cases per 100,000 people, putting them in the “red zone.”
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. A single vaccine has been authorized for use in children as young as 12 years of age, leaving younger children vulnerable to infection. It’s unclear whether the delta variant is responsible for the current cases, as patients are not routinely tested for the mutation.
“Locally, we’re doing better right now than a lot of people maybe would have predicted, but the pandemic isn’t over,” Dr. Bryant said. “The virus is really surging in states where vaccination rates are low. I think our goal really needs to be to increase immunization rates, particularly in kids before they go back to school.”
Vaccines are free and widely available, including at Norton Healthcare facilities and many Norton Children’s Medical Group pediatrician practices. Go to NortonChildrens.com/COVID-Vaccine to schedule an appointment.
COVID-19 vaccines are free, safe and effective at preventing serious illness and hospitalization. They are currently available to anyone ages 12 and older.
While encouraging in-person instruction, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that all children over age 2 and all school staff should wear masks — including those who’ve been vaccinated. Exceptions should be granted for those with medical or developmental conditions, according to the AAP.
The AAP cited low vaccination rates for children — the vaccine is only available to those 12 and older. Even those who are eligible have been slow to get immunized. COVID-19 transmission rates have been very low in schools that have successfully implemented mitigation strategies, including masking.
The AAP reported that as of July 14, just more than a third of 12- to 15-year-old children in the United States had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and just a quarter were fully vaccinated, having received the second and final dose at least two weeks earlier. The number of children getting vaccinated each week has been dropping since Food and Drug Administration granted emergency approval for people as young as 12, according to the AAP.