Florida led the U.S. in children hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday, the Miami Herald is reporting.
Analyzing the federal government’s hospital data, the Herald found that 46 pediatric patients were admitted to Florida hospitals with a confirmed infection. Another 22 were in the hospital with suspected cases of COVID-19.
As of Tuesday, the total number of pediatric patients in hospitals was only higher in Texas with 142 children, compared to 139 in Florida.
The Herald also noted that while COVID-19 cases have surged in Florida among all age groups, the paper’s analysis found the sharpest increases over the last month have been among children under 12.
The seven-day average on June 29 of new cases in the state for Florida children under 12 was 205. However, that number increased to 1,544 by July 29.
"In our previous iteration of the pandemic, it was more they’re positive but they’re not sick or minimally sick," said Dr. Ronald Ford, chief medical officer for Memorial Healthcare System’s Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. "This is different. ... There’s a much higher percentage of pediatric patients becoming infected and symptomatic."
"The rate of rise has been really more than what we in the children’s hospital have seen at any point in time in this pandemic. That to me is concerning."
The emergency rooms at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, have also seen a surge in pediatric patients over the past three to four weeks, said Dr. Marcos Mestre, chief medical officer for the hospital.
"There’s definitely a significant uptick," Mestre noted.
He said Nicklaus Children’s admitted a total of 16 pediatric patients with COVID-19 in June, but the number jumped to more than 60 in July.
Mestre pointed out that most of the patients admitted to Nicklaus Children’s in July were infected with the highly transmissible Delta variant.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended, that all children over the age of two should wear masks when returning to school this year, even if they are vaccinated.
However, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order aimed at blocking school boards from requiring students to wear masks when the academic year begins soon after he attributed the rising numbers to "a summer COVID season."
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