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Alabama health leaders worried about youth COVID numbers

Hospitalizations of children in Alabama due to COVID-19 are at a record high.

ALABAMA, USA — Alabama health officials are concerned with the growing number of child COVID cases and related hospitalizations.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, hospitalizations of children in Alabama due to COVID-19 are at a record high. ADPH and the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urge families and caretakers to minimize their children’s exposure to COVID-19 in schools and public places by making sure they wear well-fitting masks and getting them vaccinated if they are eligible.  

On January 13 there were 9,266 total COVID-19 cases (adults and children combined) reported in Alabama.

The breakdown of cases by age is as follows:
Percent of cases, ages 0-4, 3.1 percent
Percent of cases, ages 5-11, 4.3 percent
Percent of cases, ages 12-17, 5.3 percent

“In the crisis of higher virus transmission with the Omicron variant, immediate measures are critical,” ADPH District Medical Officer Dr. Wes Stubblefield said. “School-wide masking is at the top of the list of preventive steps that need to be implemented. Masks can still make a difference in school settings and allow students to remain in class, if properly used.”

Statewide, only 10.5 percent of children ages 5- to 11-year-old age group have started their COVID vaccines. For ages 12-17, that number jumps to 35.5 percent. According to the latest ADPH COVID school dashboard, there were 16,035 cases of COVID-19 in Alabama schools this week 139 of 143 districts reporting. There were 2,940 cases reported last week. These school cases include students, faculty, and staff.

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Dr. Katrina Skinner, President of the Alabama Chapter, AAP, warns, “The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is extremely contagious and fast-spreading. Pediatric hospitalizations are at record high numbers, and we continue to see children with serious complications of COVID-19 infections such as MIS-C. Parents should take the current COVID-19 outbreak seriously as it poses a very real threat to the health and well-being of their children. Children depend on their parents to protect them by minimizing their exposure to high-risk settings, to teach good masking practices and other preventive measures, as well as getting them vaccinated if eligible.”

ADPH says that on January 13, a total of 2,091 patients were admitted to Alabama hospitals with confirmed COVID-19. 71 of these are pediatric patients. Of these patients, there were 3 pediatric patients in the intensive care unit, including 1 on a ventilator. There were also 41 pregnant women admitted, with one in the intensive care unit and one on a ventilator.

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