KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Children’s Mercy has reached capacity as more minors are requiring ICU-level care, but beds are limited.
COVID-19 cases are rising across the KC metro and children are being hospitalized at a higher rate compared to previous weeks.
During Monday’s daily University of Kansas Health System medical update on Facebook, Dr. Barbara Pahud in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, said hospital staff received “high alert” message nearly every day last week and over the weekend.
“We’re full because two things have happened. We do have more COVID cases--obviously in the younger population that is not able to get vaccinated--but also when we decided to lift the mask policies. Because we have no vaccines available, in addition to COVID being able to spread, all these other childhood diseases can start spreading as well,” explained Dr. Pahud.
Health care workers are treating children for respiratory syncytial virus or RSV, which typically infects during the winter but is infecting patients this summer.
Dr. Pahud contributes the rise in other infectious diseases to the community interacting again after months of lockdown.
“We’re having a very abnormal summer with winter and summer viruses combined, and kids and adults alike are landing in the hospital because the world is open again,” said Dr. Pahud.
The risk the delta variant is posing on the community and kids is a topic of conversation for Lisa and Robert Taylor. The couple was at a park in Prairie Village with their granddaughter Monday afternoon.
The fully vaccinated grandparents said they are enjoying going to the zoo and doing other activities, but are aware of the rise in cases and taking precautions.
“We’re just super, super careful because of course the kids can’t be vaccinated yet, so we try to stay away from the big crowds,” said Lisa.
Robert is an emergency room nurse at a hospital in San Diego, California. He said he’s seen young, single parents with long hauler symptoms show up to the hospital where he works with their children and no one else to care for them.
Some of the Taylors' family members are not vaccinated. The couple says they are encouraging their loved ones to get vaccinated for themselves, for their family, and for the community.
Dr. Pahud recommends parents of children who are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, 11 years old and younger, avoid gatherings as a family and remind the child to wear a facemask in group settings.