NORFOLK, Va. — Across the country, pediatricians say more and more children are showing up at the hospital with COVID-19. In Hampton Roads, the Children's Hospital of The Kind's Daughter (CHKD) is not exempt.
Dr. Douglas Mitchell, the medical director of CHKD Medical Group, said CHKD has had more hospitalizations this month, than in the entire course of the pandemic.
“Are we seeing an uptick in hospitalizations? Yes," Dr. Mitchell said. “We’ve had more hospitalizations in August than we’ve had in the entire course of the pandemic and the kids that we’re seeing this month are sicker than we’ve seen before.”
A chart on the Virginia Department of Health's website showing monthly COVID-19 hospitalizations shows an upward trend for younger age groups.
“We definitely are seeing an increased number of pediatric hospitalizations... that is true at CHKD [and] many of the children’s hospitals throughout the country," Dr. Mitchell said. “It’s not just news from across the country. It’s hitting us here at home, as well.”
He said “resources are stretched” but the hospital is not full and not out of beds. He explained, if more children show up with COVID-19 symptoms, they can expand areas where children with infectious diseases are treated.
“We are not full in our COVID unit because we have isolation units that we can use anywhere in our hospital, according to how sick the patient is," Dr. Mitchell said. "Our resources are stretched but we’re not full. We’re not out of beds. We’re not turning away patients.”
As kids head back to school and COVID cases continue to rise, Dr. Mitchell said he wants parents to know there is a solution.
“We’ve been saying all along, the key to getting out of this is vaccinations,” Dr. Mitchell said. “So that we don’t have outbreaks in our schools, the emphasis should be, and can be, and needs to be on vaccinations."
The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people ages 12 and up. Medical experts say the vaccine is proven to prevent severe cases of COVID-19.