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Children’s Hospital New Orleans gets team of health care workers from federal government

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 7:13 PM CDT
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Children's Hospital in New Orleans
Children's Hospital in New Orleans(Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Delta variant that’s circulating around the state is sickening more and more children and Children’s Hospital New Orleans is seeing it up-close.

Dr. Mark Kline is Physician-in-Chief at Children’s Hospital.

“We’re seeing growing numbers of children in our out-patient clinics who are infected with COVID; the rate of positivity on tests has gone from 1% a month ago to 7% two weeks ago to about 20% today, so there are a lot of kids out there sick in the community and a number of them are being admitted into the hospital,” he said.

Kline said the hospital had close to 20 kids in the hospital on Monday (August 9).

“We have about 18 children admitted to the hospital right now, six are in the intensive care units and the interesting thing about this and really one of the saddest aspects is that these are very young children. Half of the kids that we have in the hospital with COVID right now are under two years of age,” said Kline.

And Kline said a team of health care workers from the federal government was expected to arrive at Children’s Hospital on Monday afternoon.

“There is a team that has been sent to us from the federal government. There are about 11 team members, a physician and a nurse practitioner and some paramedics and registered nurses, and others. We’re really grateful for that help,” said Kline.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana is a medical doctor.

“There is just staffing issues one because folks are just tired, they’re just tired, they want a break from it, secondly some folks are going locum tenens, so they may be going someplace else in the nation and working there and getting top dollar to do so, so we’re going to continue to have these issues as long as we have so much COVID in our communities,” said Cassidy.

Kline said it is very concerning as the numbers of COVID-19 cases tick up fast in children.

“I think it’s incredibly concerning. This is something we haven’t seen previously. I don’t believe we’ve ever seen certainly a COVID surge that shows this kind of trajectory with such a rapid increase in case numbers and affecting such young children,” he said.

And as children under 12 are not eligible to be vaccinated doctors say it is important that people around them are vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The thing we can do as adults to help is that we know these young children are acquiring the infection from unimmunized, unvaccinated adults in their environment and so if we can get everyone out there to get a vaccine, even if they’re not concerned because of their own personal health, if they’ll do it for their community and if they’ll do it especially for these young children who are so vulnerable then that will get us a long way towards getting out of this mess,” said Kline.

Cassidy addressed myths about the vaccines.

“There’s so much misinformation about the COVID vaccine. It took 15 years to develop the technology for the vaccine, it took one year to take that technology developed and turn it into a vaccine specific for this virus; it’s now been in use for a year. The side effects are minimal, and the risk of infection is great.”

Cassidy said as a physician and not as a politician he encourages everyone to get vaccinated.

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