Doctors remain concerned as Children’s Mercy continues to see COVID-19 spike

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Doctors’ message remain clear across the Kansas City metro, the COVID-19 vaccine can save lives and reduce hospitalizations.

These are the numbers concerning doctors at Children’s Mercy Hospital. On Wednesday, 30 children were hospitalized with COVID-19, on Thursday, 35 children were hospitalized with COVID-19 and on Friday, 25 children had been hospitalized with COVID-19, with almost 1/4 in the ICU.

“I don’t expect it to stay low with kids going back to school,” Chief Emergency Management Medical Officer Jennifer Watts said.

Watts is relieved schools are making decisions to mask up.

But headed into busy season, she’s concerned with how many on her staff are not able to work due to COVID-19. They have 427 people out sick.

A couple of weeks ago, they were well under 100.

Watts said they’ve had to get creative with shifts to ensure the ability take care of the sickest kids and stay open to trauma.

“At the rapid rise like this, that’s always a concern,” Watts said. “We will do whatever it takes to stay open and that is a top priority of ours.”

Although the death rate due to COVID-19 among children is not as high as adults, Dr. Angela Myers said they’re still seeing severe illness among kids stemming from COVID-19.

She’s concerned about a condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome.

“And those kids can get really sick,” Myers said. “I saw a kid in the ICU on Christmas with MSIC from having had COVID infection in November.”

The Kansas City, Missouri Health Department put out new numbers Friday.

In Kansas City, more kids under 18 years old tested positive fro COVID-19 in December 2021 than in months January through July combined.

Between Dec. 19, 2021-Jan. 1, 2022 children under 5-years-old were infected by COVID-19 at a faster rate than any other age, a 354% increase.

“They can spread infection to mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, great aunts and uncles and so on, so it’s important to protect everybody,” Myers said.

Myers said that means get everyone, who is able, vaccinated and boosted.

She said nearly all children admitted to the hospital from COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

“Just similar to adults, the people who are being admitted to the hospital around the country, same at Children’s Mercy, are unvaccinated,” Myers said. “So again, vaccine prevents hospitalization, it prevents death, it prevents MISC and helps keep your kids healthy and in school.”

If you are only looking for a COVID-19 test, doctors ask you not to come to the emergency department.

Instead, sign up for an appointment online.

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