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Pediatric units in Wichita continue to see a large volume of children

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – With COVID-19 cases on the rise, concerns are growing in hospitals.

Wednesday, the Sedgwick County Health Department listed hospitals in critical status. COVID-19 patients take up roughly a quarter of all ICU beds.

Concerns are going in pediatric units where resources are in even shorter supply, and the youth testing positive for COVID-19 is up in the last month. Another concern is the rise in another respiratory illness, RSV.

Local pediatricians said the units are hitting full capacity at certain times each day. But COVID-19 continues to be the only concern for children now.

“The pediatric unit may be full in the morning and then 5 o’clock because you had three dismissals there are some beds. It often means someone in the emergency department who came in earlier that morning or even last night is now been waiting 12-16 hours waiting to get to a bed,” said Dr. Robert Wittler, a professor in the Dept. of Pediatrics at KU School of Medicine in Wichita.

COVID cases, RSV, trauma and mental health issues are in the pediatric units each day.

“It’s not helping that school, it’s just started, and it’s that annual germ swap, some of our younger kids when they’re out and about, amongst other individuals,” said Dr. Amy Seery, a pediatrician for Ascension Via Christi.

Abnormally out of season, RSV cases continue to pop up this summer.

“We are seeing a higher incidence of combinations of things like RSV and new COVID. Unfortunately, if both of those caused a lot of inflammation, it can make it even harder for that child’s body to fight it off effectively,” said Dr. Seery.

“There were people trying to transmit babies, and there are no beds here in Wichita,” said Dr. Wittler.

Dr. Seery said her biggest concern is the pediatric units have yet to hit their peak.

“Texas, in southern states, we’re about two to four weeks behind them. They are in crisis mode. They have officially run out of rooms for kids, and they’re happening to have children wait hours, days in their ER spaces,” said Dr. Seery.

Dr. Seery said more children under the age of 17 are being hospitalized with COVID and needing oxygen to fight the virus.

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