COVID-19 hospitalizations for children have reached a record high in Chicago.
The city is currently seeing a daily average of about seven hospitalizations, according to Chicago Department of Public Health data. That’s up 47% from the prior week.
In the past two weeks, Lurie Children’s Hospital has seen over 110 patients admitted with COVID-19, said Dr. Taylor Heald-Sargent, a pediatric infectious disease physician at the hospital. About 20% of them needed ICU level care, she added.
“It’s not an insignificant amount of children,” Heald-Sargent said. “It’s the most we’ve had since the pandemic started.”
While COVID-19 is milder in children, when there is large numbers of people infected like there are in Chicago, rare events are going to occur more, she said. And in this case, the rare events are hospitalizations and severe illnesses.
The cases are also up for Chicagoans 17 and under, with a daily average of 1,094, according to CDPH. The prior week, it was 629.
“Over half of our patients that have been admitted recently have been less than 5 and unable to get vaccinated because there’s just not a vaccine for that age group,” Heald-Sargent said.
Some signs of a possible infection are a cold that progresses into a cough, difficulty breathing or breathing faster than normal, she said. It could also be a difficulty to keep down fluids, vomiting and diarrhea.