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Health officials report rising COVID-19 hospitalizations in children

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 10:56 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Pediatric hospitalizations have more than doubled in the last week.

President of the Alabama Hospital Association Dr. Don Williamson said last week, there were five pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state. He said it reached nine by the end of the week, but it’s still growing. Williamson said as of July 21st, there were 24 pediatric hospitalizations across the state. He said the cases are mainly in unvaccinated kids under 12.

Jefferson County’s Child Health Medical Director Dr. Khalilah Brown said only eight percent of kids under 18 in Jefferson county are vaccinated. She said the Delta Variant is just as contagious for children as it is for adults.

Brown said while child death from this virus is rare, it can happen, especially if kids also catch another infection at the same time.

“Our flu season is upcoming,” Brown said. “Our RSV season is upcoming. Last year they were very mild and we think it is because of the masks. Our children were wearing masks and they just weren’t spreading these other viruses, and they were washing their hands and just really good about hygiene last year. We need to do that again this year, because when a child gets Covid-19 on top of the flu or on top of strep, then we have significant issues.”

Dr. Williamson said the best way to protect kids under 12 who can’t be vaccinated yet is to make sure everyone in the household who does qualify for a vaccine gets one, so they’re not bringing virus home to the younger kids.

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