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‘We need you’: Helen DeVos sees a record number of COVID patients

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - While the omicron variant is on the rise in Michigan, Helen DeVos Children's Hospital is experiencing a record number of patients with COVID-19.

"During the first three waves of delta and the other variants, we did not see the significant impact on the pediatric population. It has certainly changed with omicron," said Dr. Hossain Marandi, president of Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

The hospital currently has 22 children - ranging in age from babies to 17 - with COVID-19, the hospital said Wednesday. Eleven are in the intensive care unit.

Helen DeVos also sees several cases of MIS-C A disease associated with COVID-19 that can take one destructive toll - every week than previously seen during the pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic, the hospital has admitted 478 children with COIVD-19 last week. Half of these cases came after August 2021. Only 11 were fully vaccinated, health officials say.

The hospital has had three COVID-19-related pediatric deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Marandi said most of the patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized because of symptoms directly related to their COVID-19 infection.

He asked the community to do what it can to protect children from COVID-19, such as being vaccinated and wearing masks, especially since children under 5 cannot be vaccinated.

"What is a child's life worth?" Marandi asked. "We have a child who is infected with COVID and ends up in the intensive care unit, such as the 11 that I mentioned: Is it really worth the risk that we want to take as responsible adults?"

While many children who get COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, it is impossible to say which children will see a turn for the worse, Marandi said.

"We are here to take care of pediatric patients, that's what we do, that's what we're good at. And we will always be there to support our communities and our patients and our families, to be able to be "healthy and able to be safe. We just ask you to please do what you can to help us keep these children safe," Marandi said. "We need you. We need you to be vaccinated, we need you to protect them, and in case you need us, we are always there to take care of it. ”

Marandi urged parents to get their children vaccinated. Dr. Del DeHart, a specialist in infectious diseases at UM Health West, has a similar message.

"We probably know by now that it's safe," DeHart said. "We know it's safer than the infection itself."

He pointed out that if children are not vaccinated and become infected with COVID-19, it can affect the family and disrupt work and school for weeks as they can pass it on to their siblings.

DeHart also said we do not yet know the long-term effects of COVID-19 in children.

The state on Wednesday reported 86,009 new cases over five days and 501 new COVID-19-related deaths. In all, Michigan has seen 28,980 COVID-19-related deaths.

Test rates over the last five days have been in the range of 33%, with a positivity rate of 33.9% on Tuesday.

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