Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU sees a surge in pediatric patients

Posted at 6:35 AM, Jan 19, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. — With the rise in Omicron infections around the nation, hospitals are reporting a surge in pediatric patients.

The Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU said they’ve seen more children hospitalized recently than at any other point in the pandemic.

Dr. Cliff Lee noted most young children testing positive for the virus will be seen at the ER or by their primary physician, and then be sent home.

"The vast majority of patients who are positive for the Omicron variant will most likely have upper respiratory tract symptoms, so a sore throat, nasal congestion, some coughing, as opposed to lower respiratory or involving the lungs," Lee explained.

According to Lee, a fever is the primary symptom of children admitted to the hospital, with some children having underlying issues.

"For the vast majority of children who are hospitalized, the outcome is great," said Lee. "They'll recover, and they'll go home."

While most children are recovering, the Omicron variant is causing staffing issues at the Children's Hospital, making it harder for doctors and nurses to treat patients.

"In the pediatric world, this strain is really on the staff," said Lee. "Many are either ill, they're in quarantine and can't come to work. And because of that, we don't have the 100% ability to take care of everyone and anyone who needs needs to come to the hospital."

Lee said most staff members are being exposed to COVID in the community, which is why he said it's so important for everyone to wear a mask and do what they can to protect our most vulnerable. Children under age 5 are still not eligible for a COVID vaccine.

"I feel for the parents who have young children, and they want to do the best they can to protect not only other children, but also the family and the community," Lee explained. "If you're eligible to be vaccinated, please get vaccinated. If you're eligible to be boosted, please get boosted."