PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Banner Health said in a news release Monday that Arizona is seeing a rise in the amount of pediatric patients hospitalized with coronavirus.
Banner says hundreds of children are hospitalized with COVID-19 each month, and according to their hospital data, that number is rising. "It's a long recovery for many of them, and on occasion they will die from it," said Dr. David Moromisato, Banner Desert Medical Center Chief Medical Officer. "They're getting hospitalized with pretty severe illness. Some of them are going into the pediatric intensive care unit. They're ending up on ventilators."
In October 2020, 77 children were admitted to Banner hospitals for coronavirus. In November, 178 were admitted to hospitals and in December, 342 were admitted. At that rate, Banner Health expects 6 times more children will be admitted to hospitals with COVID by the end of January 2021. According to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, Arizona had the worst per-capita rate of pediatric hospitalizations at the end of the study in November.
"It's heart-wrenching because there's absolutely nothing you can do as a parent but just sit there and pray and hope and have faith," said Marissa King.
Symptoms in children are usually mild and almost all pediatric patients can recover and be discharged, but Banner Health says the trend they are seeing with more pediatric COVID-19 patients is concerning and likely due to the fact that COVID-19 prevalence in the community is so high.
This comes after Gov. Ducey said in his State of the State address that children need to be back in schools because it is "the safest place for kids to be."
"... it’s time to get our students back where they belong. With every public-health professional, from Dr. Fauci and the CDC on down, saying that the safest place for kids to be is in school, we will not be funding empty seats or allowing schools to remain in a perpetual state of closure. Children still need to learn, even in a pandemic."
According to the Arizona Department of Health website, all counties are in the "red zone" with a recommendation of complete virtual learning with these metrics.