DENVER (KDVR) — Hospitals are admitting more children with COVID-19 as the delta variant rages at the start of the school season.
National data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a steep increase in new hospital admissions in people ages 17 and younger since early July.
“It does appear to be spreading more than other variants in kids,” Chief Medical Officer at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children Dr. Reginald Washington said.
Washington said the trend is fueled in large part by states with low vaccination rates. Colorado has not recorded a spike in kids getting hospitalized with COVID-19. Recent state data shows people ages 19 and younger made up about 2% – 3.5% of new hospital admissions in recent weeks.
Washington said they’re prepared to see a rise in kids getting more severely ill and potentially hospitalized as many local school districts start class this week.
“It will come to Colorado. Even though our vaccination rates are high, we do expect it will come to our state and we’re prepared to treat it if it does,” Washington said.
Children younger than 12 are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine. Some districts have chosen to require masks in certain settings but not all.
“You’ll have an entire population of kids under 12 who are not vaccinated and they haven’t been exposed to COVID. We do expect we’ll see more and more patients admitted to the hospital in that age group,” Washington said.
Washington urges parents to keep their kids home if they are showing COVID-19 symptoms.