MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – Mississippi is seeing another alarming trend among new COVID-19 cases. They are sending children into the ICU. The top health official in the state said 12 kids are currently in the intensive care unit with COVID-19.
Of those 12 children in the ICU with COVID-19 in Mississippi, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said ten are on ventilators. In Tennessee, health officials haven’t seen kids quite as sick, but with school starting soon doctors said there are precautions to take.
“With the new delta variant coming in there’s a question of what will this look like in pediatrics,” LeBonheur Children’s Hospital’s Director of Infection Prevention Dr. Nick Hysmith said.
This early on, it’s unclear if the delta strain of COVID-19 will affect patients, including pediatric patients, differently, but one thing is clear.
“We know it’s certainly more easily transmitted from person to person,” Baptist Union County Chief Medical Staff Dr. Brad Scott said.
Dobbs appeared to correlate the 12 serious COVID-19 cases in children to the surge in variant cases, calling it a ‘delta surge’ on Twitter Tuesday. However, no other information was included about those pediatric ICU cases including if any are among vaccine-eligible age or immunocompromised.
Dr. Scott believes if more people were vaccinated in the state, fewer children would be exposed to the virus.
“They have no protection except what they’re exposed to,” Dr. Scott said.
Dr. Hysmith said Shelby County has not seen a surge in serious COVID-19 cases in pediatric patients. The Shelby County Health Department said over the last 30 days there have been 319 cases in kids, one was sent to the ICU.
Hysmith said Mississippi’s scenario could be a sign of what’s to come.
“If there are more children being admitted into critical care areas across the country then there’s no reason I can see that would make Memphis any different,” Dr. Hysmith said.
With schools getting ready to start, the CDC has recommended things like masks for unvaccinated people and distancing students three feet apart.
Dr. Scott is a medical advisor for the New Albany School District which will start the year out not mandating masks.
“[We are] purposely making it a fluid plan that could change,” Dr. Scott said.
WMC reached out to the Tennessee Department of Health to get the latest COVID-19 pediatric hospitalizations, but was told it does not keep current data on that.
We are still waiting to hear back from the Arkansas Department of Health about the Natural State’s numbers.
Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.