HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Hospitals in Alabama are dealing with a record number of COVID-19 patients, more than 2,800 to be exact.
469 of those patients are in north Alabama, and they’re of all ages.
“I’ve seen between five-week-olds to teenagers having coronavirus symptoms and being put in the hospital for it,” Dr. Brad McClellan, pediatrician at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children said.
Children who have to be hospitalized for COVID-19 in north Alabama will likely end up at Huntsville Hospital’s Women & Children campus.
Right now there are at least three children inpatients there. But there could be as many as six.
Pediatrician Brad McClellan says these children do not always have other health conditions.
“We’ve seen it affect randomly healthy children.”
Dr. McClellan tells us some of the patients end up having breathing problems and will need supplemental oxygen.
“The other ones will have almost an autoimmune kind of phenomenon. I would say that is worse and more likely to put the child in the intensive care unit,” Dr. McClellan said.
Dr. McClellan could not specify if any children are in the ICU right now, but says he knows there have been some there recently.
While many believe a vaccine is the next step in the fight against the pandemic, it is not an option for children right now.
“The Pfizer vaccine is given to 16 years and older, the Moderna vaccine is given to 18 years and older. But if we can do the herd immunity while we’re waiting on approval for the pediatric levels of vaccine, then we’ll protect our children by not having it ourselves,” says Judy Smith with the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Dr. McClellan says the majority of children he is seeing have shortness of breath, a cough and a running nose.
McClellan also says all the pediatric doctors have gotten the COVID vaccine and none have reacting negatively.