Ohio’s child COVID-19 hospital stays near record high

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio pediatric intensive care units are busy and in some cases full as more than 70 children fight COVID-19 in the state’s hospitals, officials said Tuesday.

What you need to know

  • Ohio’s children’s hospitals treat more than 70 COVID-19 patients
  • Hospital admissions for children with COVID-19 are nearing record levels in Ohio
  • None of the hospitalized children in the state have been vaccinated, officials said

Doctors and officials at Ohio’s six children’s hospitals warned during a news conference Tuesday that pediatric COVID-19 numbers are rising and their experts aren’t sure when hospital stays might peak.

The COVID-19 hospital stays come alongside an unusually busy time for pediatric respiratory infections, officials said.

At the same time, officials said the workforce had decreased, in part because health care workers were forced to stay home to care for a sick or quarantined child.

The children currently hospitalized in Ohio are either too young to be vaccinated or they were eligible but not vaccinated, said Dr. Patty Manning, chief of staff at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

“We were very full and expect to be very full again this week because we are taking care of all kinds of children. We have bed and staff shortages, ”said Manning.

The hospital has quadrupled its COVID-19 patient numbers into double digits since June, Manning said.

“The children who are now being hospitalized with COVID – they are not just positive by chance – they are sick with COVID. You have COVID pneumonia. You have a high demand for breath. They have a high flow nasal cannula or ventilator and are very sick, ”she said.

Nationwide Children’s in Columbus has 26 COVID-19 patients, nine on ICU beds and five on ventilators, according to CEO Tim Robinson.

“Our emergency services and emergency rooms are as busy as they normally are during a high virus season in winter, resulting in long waits for families,” said Robinson.

According to an update from the Ohio Hospital Association on Monday, state hospitals reported 67 COVID-19 child admissions for the week of August 30, which was the second highest report since at least November 2020, when the earliest data is available.

According to Nick Lashutka, president of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, officials at children’s hospitals held a discussion Tuesday with Governor Mike DeWine, Ohio director of health Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, and members of the Ohio General Assembly on the alarming trends.

In Cleveland, the pediatric intensive care unit at University Hospital’s Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital was busy last week, said President Patricia DePompei.

“We have not been able to meet requests for babies or children in need of intensive care,” she said. “In this case, we work with colleagues from the children’s hospital to determine available beds for intensive care, but this often results in additional time and distance for transport.”

The number of emergency and acute hospital visits has increased significantly in recent weeks, resulting in long waiting times for families and more patients leaving the hospital before being examined.

President of ProMedica’s Russell J. Ebeid Children’s Hospital in Toledo, Dawn Buskey, said they are facing a staffing crisis that is forcing employees to work long hours. The hospital is no longer able to use its pediatric staff for other pandemic-related purposes such as mass testing, she said.

“We just can’t do that now because we’re so short on staff,” she said.

Dayton Children’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Adam Mezoff said the hospital had 13 COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday, with about 40% of the patients in intensive care. At the beginning of the month, the hospital only had one or two COVID-19 patients at a time.

“Those are numbers that we didn’t see at the start of this pandemic,” he said. “Of course, COVID has changed with the Delta variant and we are seeing increasingly sicker children.”

Mezoff said hospital staff were exhausted, adding that it made matters worse that many Ohioans don’t wear masks or get vaccinated.

“We pulled out all the levers. We all motivate our employees, but in all honesty they get tired, and sometimes tired, because we don’t choose all the tools we have to limit the number of children who get all these things, “he said.” Our emergency rooms see numbers they have never seen before this time of year. “

Akron Children’s licensed administrators are helping care for the patients, officials said. Even some non-clinical workers are now working shifts helping clinical staff, handing them out tools, or helping with moving materials around the hospital.

President Grace Wakulchik said the hospital’s emergency room and emergency department are seeing twice as many patients as usual for this time of year and at least 50% more patients than in the past peak months.

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