Children’s hospitals in SC remain close to capacity as pediatric cases continue to climb

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — According to the South Carolina Children’s Hospital Collaborative, all children hospitalized with COVID-19 at their affiliated hospitals have not been vaccinated.

Currently, children under 12 are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Wednesday morning, 30 children have been hospitalized with COVID-19, 13 of those children are in the ICU and 9 of those children are on a ventilator.

Executive Director Maggie Cash said, “This is very different from what we saw last year.”

According to Cash, 85-95% of staffed beds in its member hospitals (Prisma Health Children’s Hospital – Upstate, McLeod Children’s Hospital, MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Prisma Health Children’s Hospital – Midlands) are in use.

She said they have plans for an increase if things get worse. Cash said: “I hope people will take this virus seriously. It is a very serious virus and you cannot count on your child to be young and healthy.”

Cash recommends that children ages 12 and older be vaccinated against COVID-19 and that masks are worn in schools.

According to DHEC, they are now reporting 5,865 cases related to public and private schools in South Carolina. The Director of Health Dr. Brannon Traxler said we’re about a month into the new school year and school cases are about 30% of last year’s total school cases.

She said the low vaccination coverage, not enough people wearing masks consistently and the Delta variant are leading to this increase compared to last year.

dr. Traxler also announced Wednesday that they have released new interim guidelines for schools. It provides barriers for school districts on when to transition to virtual learning.

dr. Traxler said, “In addition, the updated school guideline includes more information about testing, shortened quarantine options and wearing masks.”

At present, approximately 33% of South Carolinians aged 12-19 have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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