COLUMBUS, Ohio — Health officials say the number of COVID-19 patients currently being treated at Nationwide Children's Hospital is the highest it's been since the start of the pandemic.
“Today, we have 55 patients, which is perhaps the highest number since the pandemic," said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Rustin Morse said.
While that fact might be cause for alarm, Dr. Morse says it's important to note that, unlike other children’s hospitals in the state, Nationwide Children’s is not seeing a huge increase in the number of children initially admitted for COVID-19.
According to Dr. Morse, most of the kids who tested positive for the virus were asymptomatic and were actually admitted for underlying health issues.
Of the kids who are hospitalized, Morse said 95% are unvaccinated and 25% are still too young to get the vaccine.
Dr. Beth Liston told 10TV she spent a week caring for children with COVID-19 at Nationwide Children’s.
Liston, who is also a state representative for District 21, says the parents she spoke with whose children were eligible for the vaccine and chose not to – now regret it.
“There are people who are not listening to experts who have decided that they have a feeling or belief that is stronger than what science is telling us,” she said.
According to Dr. Liston, patients she witnessed in respiratory distress may have other issues down the road once they recover. It’s called MIS-C, or multi-inflammatory syndrome.
“We really worry about the long-term impact on the heart function and the coronary arteries and kids who develop that complication will have cardiology follow up to make sure that the heart impacts have been resolved,” Dr. Liston said.
Dr. Morse said parents with young, generally healthy kids don’t get severely sick.
“A small, small minority are those who are critically ill and many of those have co-morbid conditions like obesity. So it is fairly uncommon to see a critically ill child who is generally perfectly healthy in the hospital with a significant illness related to COVID-19,” he explained.
Dr. Morse added there is hope that we may be on the downslope of the virus. He said fewer of his staff are getting sick and the hospital is not overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.