Dayton Children’s treating more COVID patients than ever

What is the latest data on area children and COVID-19

Dayton Children’s Hospital is treating a record number of children with COVID-19, the vast majority of them unvaccinated.

The hospital treated more than 60 kids with COVID-19 last week, an all-time high, including nearly 20 patients in its intensive care unit.

“This is now the hardest hit the pediatric population has been since the pandemic has begun,” said Dr. Adam Mezoff, chief medical officer at Dayton Children’s.

About 94% of those hospitalized children were unvaccinated. Children under 5 are not eligible for the coronavirus vaccine and kids under 18 are the least vaccinated age group in Ohio.

Combined ShapeCaption
Members of the Ohio National Guard work with Dayton Children's staff at the Dayton Children's Springboro COVID-19 testing site Thursday Jan. 13, 2022. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Members of the Ohio National Guard work with Dayton Children's staff at the Dayton Children's Springboro COVID-19 testing site Thursday Jan. 13, 2022. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
Members of the Ohio National Guard work with Dayton Children's staff at the Dayton Children's Springboro COVID-19 testing site Thursday Jan. 13, 2022. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

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On Wednesday, Dayton Children’s had 27 kids hospitalized with COVID-19.

Dayton Children’s released data Tuesday evening on COVID-19 in area kids from last week (Jan. 9 to Jan. 15):

  • Dayton Children’s administered 4,909 coronavirus tests.
  • Of those tests, 1,964 tests were positive, a positivity rate of 40%.
  • There were 63 new hospitalized patients who tested positive for COVID-19. For reference, prior to 2022, the highest number of positive hospitalized patients in a single week was 26 kids in September, 2021.
  • There were 19 patients treated in the pediatric intensive care unit with COVID-19. For context, Dayton Children’s reported to the Ohio Department of Health that it had 24 PICU beds in 2020.
  • Of patients who were admitted for COVID-19 and were eligible for the vaccine, four kids were vaccinated.
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Dayton Children’s is reporting the number of children hospitalized with COVID-19, including any child who is admitted for an unrelated reason like an injury and tests positive. However, the majority of patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 are there because COVID caused the symptoms they are having, Mezoff said.

“It’s difficult to only report on patients with a primary diagnosis of COVID. It’s not as clear cut as it may seem,” Mezoff said. “For example, if a child has both pneumonia and COVID, their primary diagnosis may be pneumonia. However COVID may be the reason they have pneumonia and still a significant part of their illness and treatment.”

Every COVID-19 positive patient, even one admitted for an unrelated reason, also impacts staff and resources because extra precautions must be taken, Mezoff added.

Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association President Sarah Hackenbracht said the latest numbers from Dayton Children’s should ring alarm bells for the community. While early on in the pandemic, it appeared that children were largely spared by the virus, that is no longer the case, she said.

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“Everyone is at risk of contracting COVID-19 and potentially having a very serious hospitalization or complication. That includes our youngest and most vulnerable children,” Hackenbracht said. “And we as a community should be doing everything that we possibly can to protect them.”

Unvaccinated

In area counties (Butler, Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Warren), about 67% of eligible kids ages 5 through 17 have not received a single dose of the coronavirus vaccine. For comparison, 71% of Ohio adults have gotten at least one shot.

In the last two weeks, one out of five coronavirus cases reported to the state were of children under 18.

Although many other area hospitals have postponed elective procedures, Dayton Children’s Hospital has announced no such policy. This is because the pediatric hospital treats mostly chronic conditions and performs fewer elective surgeries than an adult hospital.

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