COLUMBIA, S.C. — Citing the alarming rate at which children are requiring hospitalization due to COVID-19, the South Carolina Children’s Hospital Collaborative (SCCHC) on Wednesday announced it is now providing a daily report showing the number of hospitalized children (ages 0-17) with COVID-19, the number of those children requiring ICU care, and the number requiring a ventilator.
The organization also is calling for state leaders to do everything “in their power to protect children by implementing evidence-based strategies including universal masking in schools for children and vaccination for eligible children.”
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) applauds these initiatives from the SCCHC and has similarly called for leaders across the state to be allowed to implement masking requirements and urged all residents 12 and up to get vaccinated.
“We appreciate how seriously the SCCHC is taking this issue and echo their concerns about how COVID is affecting our children,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Public Health Director. “This virus has taken the lives of more than 11,000 South Carolinians and is now more than ever hurting the innocent children of this state. We can’t wait any longer. Now is the time to mask up and get vaccinated.”
The SCCHC represents the four children’s hospitals in the state: Prisma Health Children’s Hospital in the Upstate, McLeod Children’s Hospital, MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, and Prisma Health Children’s Hospital in the Midlands. The organization reported on Thursday that among the four hospitals, 32 children were hospitalized with COVID, 14 were in critical care, and 11 were on ventilators. Updated daily numbers will be provided on the organization’s Facebook page.
“This news is truly heartbreaking,” Traxler added. “The perception of COVID-19 has long been that you had to be an elderly person or have preexisting conditions to be severely impacted. That is clearly not the case, as more and more young people and children are being hospitalized and requiring tubes and machines to breathe for them. Of the 11 children on ventilators today, four are under 12 years old and therefore are too young to be vaccinated. They are suffering as a result of not enough people getting vaccinated and wearing masks. We cannot stress the importance of masks, vaccinations, and other safety protocols enough. We have to stop the spread of this virus for the sake of our children.”