Ballad Health: ‘More and more children affected by this pandemic’ as pediatric COVID hospitalizations rise | WJHL

JOHNSON CITY, Tennessee (WJHL) — Ballad Health officials revealed on Wednesday that nearly half of positive COVID-19 cases in the region are under the age of 18.

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“A change from the last week or so shows that 43% of the positive cases we account for at Ballad Health are patients under the age of 18,” said Ballad Health Chief Operating Officer Eric Deaton. “That is of course very worrying. Some days we have seen a higher percentage under the age of 18.

“More and more children are being affected and infected by this pandemic.”

Eric Deaton, chief operating officer/incident commander opens today’s media briefing: We see an ongoing escalation of cases. Currently, 43% of positive cases tested at Ballad Health are under the age of 18.

— Ballad Health (@BalladHealth) August 25, 2021

Another fact that has alarmed regional health experts: The number of pediatric COVID-19 patients at Niswonger Children’s Hospital has tripled from three to nine in the past week.

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“Last week we had three pediatric patients being cared for,” Deaton said. “That increase of six is ​​alarming and relates to the positive cases we see in patients 18 years and younger.”

You can watch the full stream of Ballad’s briefing below:

Deaton said Ballad continues to urge children to wear masks indoors in an effort to slow the rising cases among pediatric patients.

“There is some evidence that having everyone in the room wearing a mask significantly reduces the spread of COVID-19,” Deaton said. “If you have children who go to school, we want to encourage them to wear a mask when they are at school.”

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Deaton revealed that the health system continues to see an increase in patients who are deteriorating more rapidly, with 49 COVID-19 patients relying on ventilators.

“That’s worrying because we’re seeing the highest number of patients on ventilators,” Deaton said. “Our highest number was 51 earlier this week. We are seeing higher numbers on ventilators.”

Tuesday’s ballad numbers: 281 patients hospitalized for COVID, 9 pediatric cases at Niswonger’s

For those hospitalized, Ballad noted that a greater number of patients require treatment in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

“We now see nearly a third of our patients in the ICU,” Deaton said. “So these are records we don’t want to break.”

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Chief Infection Prevention Officer Jamie Swift continues to urge the community to mask and get the injections.

“We know the past few weeks have been discouraging,” Swift said Wednesday. “We are currently in a critical phase of the pandemic, but we would like to shed some light on some good news and a very important event that has taken place over the past week.”

The good news was the FDA approval of Pfizer’s double-shot COVID-19 vaccine.

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“The approval is truly the culmination of many months of work, significant data review and an extensive review process that has already protected millions of Americans from serious COVID-19 complications,” said Swift. “It often makes the difference between life and death.”

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