Children in ICUs and on ventilators in Alabama

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 6:33 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The number of kids hospitalized with COVID is up to 55 across the state of Alabama. A number of these children are on ventilators.

The Delta variant is causing more people to get sick, including children. Doctors said children are getting sicker now than the children exposed to COVID last year.

Children’s of Alabama, like other pediatric hospitals, is seeing an increase in cases due to the Delta variant. Children’s is reporting 20 pediatric cases. Fewer than five are on ventilators.

“We are very full with lots of children with respiratory cases and some of them are very sick requiring ICU level care,” said Dr. Erin Shaughnessy with Children’s of Alabama.

As for why some children are being put on ventilators to help with their breathing when others are not? “We are seeing otherwise healthy children who need that level of care. Certainly there are children with underlying conditions who need that level of care as well,” said Dr. Shaughnessy.

Dr. Karen Landers, a pediatrician with the Alabama Department of Public Health, says other factors are also playing a major role such as poverty and access to care in minority communities.

“Some of that is related to their access to medical care and perhaps overall less healthy diets and less healthy environments,” Landers said.

Both doctors urge eligible children and their parents to get vaccinated. Also for them to wear masks. Many school systems have switched to mask mandates.

Dr. Landers believed the increasing numbers of pediatric cases will continue and that will create problems for hospitals.

At this time, Dr. Landers said they are strained providing pediatric care, but they are meeting the needs. There is a concern that could change if the numbers continue to increase in the coming weeks.

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