Pediatric COVID-19 Hospitalizations In Arizona Are Still Climbing

Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2021 - 5:57pm
Updated: Thursday, September 2, 2021 - 7:37am
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COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to climb in Arizona and medical experts say the average age of patients needing care is younger than in previous surges. 

“With this new surge of COVID-19, we’re seeing more kids showing up and testing positive," said Dr. Wassim Ballan, a pediatric infectious diseases physician with Phoenix Children’s. "The rate of hospitalization is definitely going up in the pediatric population.”

Overall, Maricopa County is averaging about one-third as many COVID-19 cases per day as the country reported during the winter surge, according to data from Maricopa County Public Health. For kids, it’s a different story. Cases among Maricopa County children under 12 are approaching all-time highs.

The virus tends to be less severe for children than for adults, but Ballan said pediatric COVID-19 infections can still be very dangerous in some cases. 

“The virus is circulating widely enough in the community that we are seeing some patients who are needing critical care and needing to go to the ICU," Ballan said. 

No vaccine has been approved in the U.S. yet for children under 12. Ballan said pediatric cases are likely rising right now because kids too young to be vaccinated are returning to school in-person while the highly infectious delta variant spreads. 

He said the best way to protect children is to get more adults vaccinated.

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