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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Data shows more people are in hospitals across the metro and the nation because of COVID-19 and the delta variant. Now, that includes Children’s Mercy Hospital, but it’s not just the coronavirus.

Children’s Mercy Hospital is at full capacity. Doctors said it’s been that way for several days.

There’s been an increase in COVID-19 cases, summer viruses and other viruses normally seen in the winter, too.

“So we’re having a very abnormal summer,” said Dr. Barbara Pahud with Children’s Mercy. “The hospital is to capacity.”

More children are requiring ICU-level care than there are beds and staff at Children’s Mercy, Pahud said on the University of Kansas Health System’s Facebook Live.

She said there are two reasons for that:

  1. An increase in COVID-19 cases among children.
  2. Other respiratory viruses they see in the summer and winter are circulating.

“All the respiratory viruses that we didn’t see for a year while we were in quarantine, we’re seeing now,” Pahud said.

The best thing to do, according to Pahud, is mask up and get vaccinated if you’re old enough, especially ahead of the school year.

“If we open schools up without social distancing, without vaccination, without masks, we are going to see problems, we’re going to see children land in the hospital,” Pahud said, “and that’s the last thing we want to do.”

Dr. Kenny Southwick talks with 32 school districts in 13 counties across Missouri, according to KU Health System. He doesn’t believe districts will require families to disclose whether their students have been vaccinated.

Southwick said, at this point, people getting vaccinated are our only hope of getting classrooms to look like they used to look.

“That’s really the only way we’re going to get school back to completely normal – unmasked, not social distancing and everything else,” Southwick said. “We’ve got to get kids vaccinated.”

Pahud said the way COVID-19 and the delta variant affects children is random.

“It’s just like car seats and seatbelts in a car,” Pahud said. “You don’t know if you’re going to be the one who has a mild car accident or a serious one. So everybody has to do the right thing. Everybody needs to not drink and drive. Everybody needs to stay off their cell phone because we’re all trying to protect each other.”

As of Friday at Children’s Mercy, nearly 5,500 kids have tested positive for COVID-19, and seven were in the hospital.

On Monday, that number went up to 10.

You can find more information from Children’s Mercy on how to stay safe when returning to school and the community here.