Contrary to earlier in the pandemic when kids were rarely reported to severely suffer from COVID-19, Colorado health officials are now sounding the alarm that the virus is rapidly affecting more children and teens.
Driving the news: A surge in COVID-19 cases and respiratory illnesses has raised hospitalization counts at Children's Hospital by more than 20% over what is typical this time of year, the Denver Gazette reports.
- The facility's intensive care units are now seeing a 60% increase in patients over what is normal.
State of play: Although the hospital is still reporting sufficient capacity, Colorado's public health experts warn cases could climb.
What they're saying: "Given the increase we are seeing in our pediatric population, (we) are beginning to work on a deeper dive into our pediatric ICU capacity," Scott Bookman, COVID-19 incident commander for Colorado's health department, told the Denver Post.
By the numbers: As of Aug. 18, 57% of Denver kids ages 12–17 were fully vaccinated, according to Denver Public Health's COVID-19 data dashboard.
- Of those who weren't, 68.5% were at least partially vaccinated, while nearly one-third hadn't gotten a single shot.
The big picture: It's back-to-school time for kids in Colorado and across the country, and children under 12 remain ineligible for COVID-19 vaccines.
- Meanwhile, mask mandates continue to vary from one school district to the next.
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