Pediatricians Seeing Highest Rates Of COVID-19 In Children

Wednesday, January 19th 2022, 6:17 pm

Pediatricians at Oklahoma Children's Hospital said they're seeing a growing trend.

"Now we are at an all-time high for pediatric admissions for COVID-19," said Dr. Donna Tyungu, a pediatrician at the hospital.

More kids are being diagnosed with COVID and more are ending up in the hospital.

Tyungu said unlike earlier in the pandemic, the Omicron variant is more likely to infect children.

"It was thought that children don't have the receptors for COVID-19, what are called Ace2 receptors in their nasal tissue, but the virus has mutated so much that it can overwhelm those receptors," said Tyungu.

Tyungu said while most children can recover at home or have mild symptoms, they are seeing some children having trouble breathing.

Dr. Stephanie DeLeon said some babies who are infected are not wanting to eat or drink and becoming dehydrated.

"We've had a large number of young infants that have been admitted,” said DeLeon. “My thought is perhaps they have a sore throat and aren't wanting to eat and drink."

The state health department said 69 children are in the hospital with COVID-19 as of January 19.

Doctors at Oklahoma's Children’s Hospital said they aren't seeing many pediatric deaths, but they are seeing more complications from the virus.

They're encouraging parents to get their kids vaccinated if eligible.

"At this point, according to all experts, the benefits of vaccinations far outweigh the risks," said Dr. Amy Middleman, a pediatrician at the hospital.

The state health department said 42 percent of 12 to 17-year-olds in Oklahoma are fully vaccinated.