Arnold Palmer Medical Director says pediatric hospitalizations have ‘skyrocketed’

ORLANDO, Fla. – dr. Federico Laham, medical director of Infectious Diseases at Arnold Palmer Hospital, says the pediatric cases at the hospital have “focused” in recent weeks.

“We’ve seen a dramatically increased number of children, especially those under 17,” Laham said. “The number of patients admitted to hospital has tripled in the past month in August.”

Currently, Orlando Health is reporting 17 pediatric cases that have been hospitalized, with 5 of them on Sunday only and one currently in the ICU.

Laham said he believes the delta variant affects children worse than COVID-19 last year as children come in in greater numbers and sicker than ever before.

“We’ve seen more kids come to the hospital sicker, we’ve seen more kids come in with respiratory disease similar to the disease adults have, severe pneumonia, which in some cases needs an increased amount of oxygen, intubation and ICU care — this is a serious, serious respiratory disease,” added Dr. Laham.

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The trends seen at Orlando Health coincide with data reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tracking pediatric hospital admissions and the highest number of children in hospitals ever reported as of Aug. 30, with 230 in hospitals in the United States. the whole state.

For context, as of July 1, there were only 20 children in hospitals in the entire state of Florida.

Laham said the age ranges of children admitted are as young as infants, but he has seen more serious cases in teens.

“We’ve seen young babies being admitted because of Covid, in terms of admitted patients, the majority are those under 6 but what I’ve seen are those who are sicker are those over 12, that breaks my heart because I know we can prevent it,” Dr. Laham added.

Orlando Health would not report whether they have had any infant deaths. As for recovery, Laham says treatments help children recover, just not as easily as before.

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“I want to say what I’ve seen and experienced: this virus is different from the one we had last year,” Laham said. “We’re lucky that kids have responded to treatments, but I have to say they’re very sick, very sick for a condition that, again, is very preventable.”

Laham encourages parents of those children over the age of 12 to get vaccinated.

“The best treatment for this condition is preventative to begin with,” he said.

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