ADPH: 20% of children hospitalized with COVID-19 in Alabama end up in ICU
By Morgan Hightower | August 10, 2020 at 7:00 PM CDT - Updated August 11 at 5:30 AM
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Most children infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms but a recent study by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found one-third of children hospitalized with the virus were admitted to the ICU.
In Alabama, 20-percent of children hospitalized with COVID-19 have been in the ICU, according to data provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).
“While our numbers, percentage wise, appears to be a bit less than what the CDC has said, we are seeing a similar trend if children are admitted,” said Dr. Karen Landers, ADPH.
Dr. Landers said 1.5-percent of total hospitalizations for COVID-19 have been between the ages of 0 and 17.
“This really represents an extremely small number,” said Dr. Landers, but added, the data shows children can develop severe symptoms.
“I think the most important message to parents now continues to be preventative measures for SARS-CoV-2 among children.”
The CDC studied 576 children hospitalized with COVID-19 in 14 states and found Black and Hispanic children were most often treated for the virus. More than 40% of children had at least one underlying condition, with obesity being the most prevalent, according to the study.
Data regarding demographics and underlying conditions of hospitalized children in Alabama were not immediately available, but Dr. Landers said, “we do know that as a whole with COVID-19, that persons who are African American, or minorities, or underserved, might have a more problematic outcome.”
The CDC study concluded, “reasons for disparities in COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates by race and ethnicity are not fully understood,” and pointed to research that, “hypothesized that Hispanic adults might be at increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection because they are overrepresented in frontline (e.g., essential and direct-service) occupations with decreased opportunities for social distancing, which might also affect children living in those households.”
More research is needed to understand the disparities in Alabama, too, said Dr. Landers. She said efforts are ongoing to increase testing for minorities.
Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.