Wichita hospital reports increase in pediatric COVID-19 patients

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 4:13 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - COVID-19 hospital numbers continue to increase in Sedgwick County, putting the hospital status as “critical.” The concern isn’t just with adults. Ascension Via Christi doctors say they’re seeing a dramatic increase in its pediatric units with children hospitalized with the virus.

In the last two months, doctors and nurses at Ascension Via Christi report seeing nearly as many children with COVID-19 as they saw all last year. It’s a situation one healthcare worker described as “scary” with bed availability slim.

“It’s absolutely scary,” said Ascension Via Christi Pediatric Unit Nurse Manager Matt Tyler. “…To see those numbers increase is very difficult. Because when you look at bed availability in the hospital and the more patients we see, it’ll back up into the ERs and then they might have to wait sometime in The ER before they can get a bed upstairs.”

A pediatrician at the hospital said it’s affecting all ages.

“The age range that we have had test positive, I’ve seen from six weeks of age up until 18, which is the limit, 18, 19. So really, every age we’ve seen,” Ascension Via Christi Family Medicine Director Dr. Sarah Houssayni said. “And the extent of sickness with the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, post-COVID that I’ve seen in kids younger than 10.”

Dr. Houssayni explained that Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome “is pretty much a failure of many systems,” including the kidneys, the heart and the liver.

“And it’s very, very severe,” she said. “I’ve seen three (cases) within 12 months.”

The hospital’s doctors and nurses said they don’t want any more unnecessary sickness and death. They’re asking for the public’s help.

“COVID is absolutely real. We’ve seen plenty of COVID (pediatric) patients,” Tyler said. “So, what I would stress is following those infection-prevention guidelines. Wash your hands, wear your masks, socially distance whenever you can. Get vaccinated. Anybody that can be vaccinated 12 years and older, get your vaccine.”

The doctors and nurses at Ascension Via Christi also said they’re staring to see other viruses coming into the hospital, including RSV and the flu. They said with the influx of COVID patients, they may not have enough beds or staff to treat those patients.

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