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The COVID increase hits Cincinnati Children’s, school districts

CINCINNATI - A wave of COVID-19 infections is affecting both schools and hospitals in Hamilton County, as Cincinnati Children see about 60 patients a day - eight times the number of patients in early December.

School staff absenteeism has doubled since the end of the winter break, according to Hamilton County ESC, a nonprofit organization that helps schools with development and support. Tim Ackerman, Hamilton County ESC's Assistant Superintendent, said 40% of compensation requests are not completed every day.

Regional hospitals see between 100 and 250 adult COVID patients each day, according to Hamilton County Public Health data. However, for the first time in the pandemic, Cincinnati Children's Hospital is not far behind.

While the alpha strain and the delta variant of the virus fed the orphanage with six or fewer patients a day, omicron 60, according to Dr. Steve Davis, the hospital's CEO and president.

"Whether it's because they are not old enough or their parents have not had them vaccinated," Davis said. "But we really do not see a large number of children or adults with serious illness who have been vaccinated."

The trend in pediatric hospital admissions first hit Cleveland and Columbus. While both see the numbers either reach a plateau or fall, Cincinnati is rising. That's why 10-year-old Landon Collinsworth took his second dose of vaccination without hesitation.

"I want to do this," he said. "If I do not get this shot, I could get sick and die. So it was a good option to choose. I just want to feel safe."

While several school districts have switched to short-term distance learning in the midst of the rise, Davis said it is important for children to return to school, and he is optimistic that the rise in child cases is close to its peak.

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