OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — For the past two weeks, COVID-19 has been spreading like wildfire in the community, and children aren’t escaping the blaze.
“It is not a good week for COVID-19, especially in pediatrics,” said Dr. Melissa St. Germain, vice president and medical director of Children's Physicians
Near the beginning of this pandemic, children rarely were contracting COVID-19, but that’s not the case anymore.
As omicron comes on the scene, Children’s Physicians are seeing more and more infected kids.
Two weeks ago, they saw 145 positive tests. Last week, that number rose to 268 positive tests.
As a while, last week the Douglas County Health Department reported 926 cases in people 19 and under.
Like adults, more children are getting tested lately, creating new demand.
“We have machines that we can run some tests, but we run out every week," St. Germain said. "We’re not able to get enough tests from the manufacturers to meet the demand."
When it comes to hospitalizations, St. Germain said it tends to be kids with pre-existing conditions and infants old needing intensive care.
As of Monday, seven pediatric patients are in the hospital with the virus. But pediatric beds are still hard to come by as the flu and RSV add to hospitalizations.
“The hospital in and of itself is full," St. Germain said. "So if we do start to see even a handful of extra kids with COVID who need to be hospitalized, we’re really going to struggle with capacity to do that.”
St. Germain said masking kids, especially in schools, will help lower the spread of this virus.
Vaccines also play a huge role. A booster shot for 12 to 15-year-olds is likely to be approved by the CDC and made available starting Wednesday.
“We’re hoping that by opening this vaccine up to more of our population, that we’ll be able to get more people vaccinated and hopefully slow down this kind of astronomical spread of disease that we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks," St. Germain said.