More than 220 children’s hospitals are asking the Biden administration for help as COVID-19 cases in children are putting an “unprecedented strain” on facilities nationwide.

Pediatric hospitals are “at or near capacity” as the Delta valiant continues to surge across the U.S. According to the Children’s Hospital Association, more children are expected to become infected as the school year continues. 

 

 

 

 

In a letter to President Biden, Children’s Hospital Association CEO Mark Wietecha warned there might not be sufficient bed capacity for children in need. 

"Our children's health care safety net is under unprecedented strain," Wietecha said in a news release. "Children's hospitals and their dedicated staffs are doing their part, and we hope every American, the White House, and Congress can help."

This presents a growing concern for many parents as children under 12 will not be eligible for the vaccine, putting their health at risk. According to Pfizer CEO Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the vaccine won’t be available to children ages 5 to 11 until late fall or early winter “if everything goes right.” On top of testing positive for COVID-19, some children are also coming down with RSV, a respiratory virus that can be dangerous in children. 

Researchers believe 300 children a day are testing positive for COVID-19 and states like Minnesota are seeing their pediatric hospitals fill to near capacity. According to Children’s Minnesota CEO Mark Gorelick, Children’s Minnesota is running close to 95% capacity, the highest the hospital has seen since the pandemic began. He also warns of a likely increase in cases as fall approaches. 

In Columbus, Ohio Lead Experts at Nationwide Children’s hospital are reporting the number of patients being treated for COVID-19 has doubled in the past week, and Chief Medical Officer Rustin Moore says 75% are “acutely ill.” Moore says five children at the hospital are being treated in the ICU and two of them are on a ventilator. 

"With COVID-19 on the rise, we may be approaching a perilous situation," said Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff during a press conference last Thursday.

The Seattle Children’s Hospital confirmed their first death on Tuesday, Dr. John McGuire, chief of Seattle Children’s division of pediatrics critical care medicine, said in a statement that the patient died last week, “despite the extraordinary efforts of the care team.”

“This hits all of us close to home, and the patient and family are in the thoughts and hearts of the Seattle Children’s community,” McGuire said in the statement.

“Kids are getting sick and they’re going to get sicker,” Dr. Dave Carlson, chief physician officer at MultiCare Health System, which provides care for the greater Pierce County area and Spokane, said during a Monday news conference. “And our numbers aren’t massive right now, but I am very worried that that could shift if you look at some of the experiences of the children’s hospitals in other states.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 203,962 children have tested positive for COVID-19 between Aug 19 and Aug 26.