COVID-19 hospitalizations for children in Oregon at all-time high

Updated: Feb. 11, 2022 at 12:44 PM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - The CDC announced that hospitalization rates among children for COVID-19 across the nation are at its highest point than at any other time in the pandemic. Dr. Carl Eriksson, of OHSU, said that the same is true for Oregon.

“Right now we have more children hospitalized with active COVID infection in Oregon than we have at any point during the pandemic,” Eriksson said. He said that as of January 10 there were 19 children across the state of Oregon hospitalized for COVID-19. Six of those pediatric patients are being treated at OHSU and ten are being treated at Legacy. It is important to keep in mind these numbers are constantly changing.

“It’s not a very high number but keep in mind that it is relatively uncommon for children to be hospitalized. It is a number that we are watching very closely,” Eriksson said.

He said they’re seeing children hospitalized both specifically for COVID-19 and also for other conditions when they also test positive for COVID, but he said they need more data to know if there is a trend either way.

“We’re seeing a combination of kids who have severe COVID infection and are very sick with COVID itself, that’s at the severe end of the spectrum. At the milder end of the spectrum is maybe somebody who has COVID and it’s either caused an exacerbation of an underlying chronic illness or sometimes is actually asymptomatic where we can’t really see a clear reason for it to be tied to the hospitalization,” he said.

As we continue to see cases rise, Eriksson said he’s concerned we will see more of Oregon’s children require hospitalization.

“What we also know is in kids, in addition to getting sick with COVID-19, they can also get sick from an inflammatory syndrome that happens weeks after they’ve had their initial infection,” Eriksson said. “We will often see a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations and then a few weeks later see a second spike of this post-COVID inflammatory syndrome that we call MIS, multisystem inflammatory syndrome.”

He said the most effective tools we have are the vaccines followed by mask wearing and avoiding large crowds.

“We’re all very concerned that we still have a pretty significant population of unvaccinated kids who are at risk for serious complications with COVID and those complications include hospitalizations, needing a mechanical ventilator and death unfortunately,” he said.

Oregon health authorities reported Monday that 18,538 new confirmed or presumptive COVID-19 cases were identified over the weekend.

The state has a positive test rate of just over 22% as the highly contagious omicron variant spreads. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 increased to 692, but hospitalizations were still about 40% below their peak during the summer surge of the delta variant.

Health officials diagnosed 47,272 coronavirus cases over the past week, three times as many as the previous week.

Eighteen new deaths were announced Monday.