ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Doctors on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight predict things will get worse before they improve.
Dr. Michael Keating with AdventHealth says he is not alone.
“I’m very concerned and I think the other pediatric providers in our community are concerned, as well,” he said.
According to Keating, there are a dozen kids hospitalized with COVID-19 right now at AdventHealth.
Other area hospitals are reporting similar numbers.
Arnold Palmer says they are treating nine children with COVID-19. One of those cases is in the ICU.
Nemours Children’s Hospital reports they have 8 children with COVID-19, with five of those being treated in the ICU. Just two weeks ago a child died from COVID-19.
Dr. Ken Alexander, chief of infectious disease at Nemours, says the delta variant is affecting more children than previous forms of the virus.
“There’s a child in our ICU right now, on a ventilator, who has no real risk factors,” Alexander said.
He says most pediatric hospitalizations are between ages 10 to 18, have no preexisting, underlying health issues, and are African-American or Hispanic.
Doctors say of those patients a majority are overweight.
“The problems that get our kids into trouble seem to be obesity. So it’s the large, adolescent kid”, Alexander said.
Dr. Keating says while COVID-19 pneumonia is the most common reason for hospitalization in children they are also seeing a hyper immune response that has lead to multi-system inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C.
“As a consequence, many different organ systems in the body can be affected. such as the brain, the heart, the lungs, the liver. you can go down the list,” Keating said.
Doctors predict the number of cases of COVID-19 in children will begin to increase in the next week coinciding with the start of school.