Number of intubated children with COVID-19 at MUSC increasing

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 5:33 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2021 at 6:27 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The number of children who are on ventilators at the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital has increased over the past month and a half, hospital officials say.

From March of 2020, just through the end of July, there were two kids intubated at the hospital, and two on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine, a machine that oxygenates blood outside of the body, then puts it back in. In all, that meant there were four pediatric patients intubated over a span of 16 months.

But since August, the total is up to 11 children intubated, eight of them on ventilators currently and three requiring extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. MUSC officials say all those cases are COVID-related, and that is just over a span of six weeks.

“We are seeing more healthy children with no underlying condition with severe COVID, and that is different than the rest of the pandemic; There has been a switch,” said Dr. Allison Eckard, a pediatric infectious disease physician at MUSC. “We would really like to encourage families to understand that things have changed.”

There are currently 119 patients with COVID-19 at MUSC and 16 of them are children.

“It is time, at this juncture, to stop the sleepovers, to stop the birthday parties, to stop travel, until our numbers are a little bit lower than what they are now,” Eckard said. “Our risk right now of getting infected if you are in a crowd or at a birthday party, etc, is really, really high.”

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