Hospitals have high in hospitalizations of children for covid-19

Covid patient in hospital 5/4/2021 REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Covid patient in hospital 5/4/2021 REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

photo: Reuters

Public and private hospitals in various parts of the country report an increase in the number of hospitalizations of children and adolescents due to covid-19 and open beds to meet the demand. With the advancement of the highly transmissible variant Ômicron, and still low rates of childhood vaccination, the pediatric population becomes more vulnerable to the disease.

At Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, in the capital of São Paulo, there are ten patients under the age of 18 hospitalized with covid-19 – eight of them in intensive care units (ICUs). A month ago, there were none. already in Sabará Children’s Hospitalthe number of children and adolescents hospitalized with suspected or confirmed covid tripled from the end of last year to Wednesday, 26.

“Covid is not mild in children. We are seeing this by the number of children hospitalized”, says Linus Fascina, medical manager of the Maternal-Infant Department at Einstein. In the hospital, beds are made available on demand. According to the doctor, the children have diarrhea and inflammation and, in some cases, they may need intensive treatment to receive hydration and medication.

“(Covid-19) can affect the musculature of the heart, one or another child needed drugs to help the heart beat with more adequate intensity.” Also of concern are cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a complication that occurs two to four weeks after infection and is manifested by skin inflammation and heart problems.

Last week, the government of São Paulo reported that hospitalizations of children and adolescents in ICU beds due to the coronavirus in the state increased by 61% in the last two months. On Wednesday, the occupancy of pediatric ICU beds was 60%, according to the State Department of Health.

Other states, such as Amazonas, also had an increase in child hospitalizations. In Manaus alone, there were five children hospitalized in ICUs with covid-19 and 49 in infirmary beds on Tuesday, according to a bulletin from the Amazonas Health Surveillance Foundation. Twenty-five days ago, there were no children hospitalized in ICUs for covid-19 in Manaus and, in clinical beds, there were three. The State Department of Health stated that it has been expanding the ICU and ward beds.

In the Federal District, all nine pediatric ICU beds for diseases that require isolation are occupied – four of them with children already diagnosed with covid-19.

In Bahia, of the 29 pediatric ICU beds, 27 were occupied (93%). The rate was a little lower, at 78%, for the wards. A reference in the treatment of infectious diseases, the Couto Maia Hospital, in the capital of Bahia, intends to use even a deactivated surgical center to open a new wing with ten more pediatric ward beds because of the great demand.

“This is the first time that we need to increase the number of pediatric beds in the hospital. There was a period of the pandemic when we came to disable pediatric beds to meet the greater demand of adult patients. Now we are experiencing the opposite situation”, says Ceuci Nunes, director of Couto Maia.

In Curitiba, the Pequeno Príncipe Hospital, a reference in the care of children and adolescents, already has more confirmed cases of covid-19 in the first 26 days of this year than in the whole of 2020. Of the ten ICU beds, seven are occupied.


Last Wednesday, in Belo Horizonte, the city government announced the opening of 12 ICU beds for adults and ten pediatric ones. It also postponed by one week the start of face-to-face classes for children between 5 and 11 years old, in the public and private network, in order to accelerate vaccination. In Brazil, only 3.5% of children aged 5 to 11 years received the first dose.

João Gabriel, 5 years old, was one of the patients hospitalized in the capital of Minas Gerais. The grandmother Joana D’arc dos Reis Alves traveled from Manhuaçu, 280 kilometers from Belo Horizonte, in search of assistance. “He has a high fever, 38 degrees, three times a day, and we believe it’s something respiratory, because of the symptoms.”

The boy, according to the family, has other comorbidities and got a place at the João Paulo II Children’s Hospital – all beds in the unit are occupied and 40% of the cases are of covid. “We don’t even have the physical capacity to increase at the moment”, says Fabrício Giarola, director of the Emergency Hospital Complex of the Hospital Foundation of the State of Minas Gerais.

Other respiratory diseases also overwhelm establishments. “The outbreak was especially of influenza and bronchiolitis in babies up to 2 years old, due to the beginning of a resocialization, and, therefore, the contact with new viruses”, said the Secretary of State for Health of Minas Gerais, Fábio Baccheretti Vitor. He predicts that cases of childhood respiratory illnesses will begin to fall in mid-February. “Our expectation is to end February with the lowest hospitalization rate.”

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