JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The number of pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida is higher than anywhere else in the country, and it’s as high as any other time since the pandemic began, data shows.
Baptist Health said 10 children with COVID-19 were admitted Sunday and four children with COVID-19 were admitted Monday. As of Tuesday, according to Baptist Health, 16 COVID-19 patients were in Wolfson Children’s Hospital, four of whom were in the intensive care unit.
Dr. Mobeen Rathore, chief of pediatric infectious disease at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, said both children with underlying health conditions and generally healthy children are being hospitalized.
“Many of them are generally healthy kids, but there are also kids that have underlying health conditions. Of course, they are the ones that get the sickest and have the high chance of morbidity. But there are children that are otherwise healthy also,” Rathore said.
Looking at Florida as a whole, in the last two days of data reported to the federal government, 118 pediatric patients were admitted to a hospital with COVID-19.
Dr. Adriana Cantville, a pediatric hospitalist at UF Health Jacksonville, said children can have a variety of symptoms from congestion and diarrhea to needing oxygen and IV fluids.
“Unfortunately, the entire family is affected, and it’s not just the child who is sick, but we have sick parents, grandparents. Often time the whole household is affected,” Cantville said.
News4Jax also spoke with both Rathore and Cantville about the start of the new school year. They said the incubation period of COVID-19 is days or weeks, meaning if there are outbreaks in schools, there could be more hospitalizations in the coming weeks.
As for the ages of the pediatric patients, the doctors said they’re all ages — from infants to teenagers.
They also said the majority of children age 12 and up in hospitals — who are eligible to be vaccinated — are not vaccinated.