Valley hospitals sounding the alarm over influx of COVID-19 cases in children

Record-high 61,000 children in U.S. tested positive for COVID last week
Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 13, 2021

PHOENIX — More Valley hospitals are sounding the alarm about the influx of COVID-19 cases in children.

We asked ABC15 Data Analyst Garrett Archer to look at the number from the AZ Department of Health Services - and those numbers are showing within the last two weeks, more than one in four new COVID-19 cases in Arizona is in the "Under 20" age group. This trend has Banner Health hospitals deeply concerned.

"The youngest I've seen with severe illness was five months and is currently admitted to the pediatric ICU with respiratory failure from COVID infection," explains Dr. Anthony Ani, a pediatrician who also happens to be the Chief Medical Officer of Banner Children's at Desert.

"It is quite surprising to us that we are seeing in this iteration for COVID surge in children now be more affected than before. We as pediatricians love to help children and their families and see them come to our facility very ill, doing what we can to get them better, is not what we expected to happen...We thought we'd be done with this pandemic, but it's like here we go again."

This time, there is a shift from earlier in the pandemic, when the elderly were the most vulnerable.

"It is very difficult for those children, especially for their families, too. Nobody likes to see a child suffer or be very ill."

On Thursday, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 2,970 new cases overall of COVID-19 and six additional deaths.