Fayette County School Supt. Demetrus Liggins, center right, greeted second-grade students of Laura Crance, center left, on their first day of school. (Photo by Marcus Dorsey, Lexington Herald-Leader)
By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News
Kentucky Children’s Hospital physicians said Thursday that rising coronavirus cases or severe Covid-19 cases in youth are cause for worry, and because most of the severe cases are in children over 12, they are are preventable through vaccination.
“As the pandemic has progressed, and especially now during this past month when we’ve seen a rise in the Delta variant, which is a much more contagious strain of Covid-19 than earlier strains, we’re starting to see more and more children become infected and also more and more children having complications related to Covid-19,” Dr. Sean McTigue, medical director for pediatric infection prevention and control at the hospital, part of the University of Kentucky.
Severe Covid-19 is a condition that requires a person to have inpatient hospital care, oxygen support, anti-viral medications and steroid medications, said McTigue.
He said since the beginning of the pandemic, Kentucky Children’s Hospital has treated 10 children with severe infections, four were admitted within the last 14 days and two within the last two days.
“So that’s 40 percent of our total severe Covid [that] have occurred within the past two weeks and 20 percent within the past two days, and that’s definitely alarming to me, as as it seems to be a distinct upward trend,” said McTigue.
None of the 10 children with severe infections were vaccinated, even though eight were eligible for a vaccine. “This is by and large a fully preventable illness,” McTigue said.
“So there are definitely pockets of children who are at higher risk than average,” McTigue said. “But for any child, the risk is certainly not zero. And when there’s something very easy, safe and effective that we can do to protect them, like getting them immunized, I think it makes a lot of sense to do so.”