Health authorities on Monday, August 16, sounded alarm bells as they noted an increasing number of children infected with COVID-19 being admitted to hospitals in Cagayan de Oro.
Dr. Ted Yu of the Cagayan de Oro City Health Office (CHO) said they have seen more children, aged 12 years and younger, being admitted to hospitals compared to the same period in 2020.
Yu said the CHO recorded 32 children hospitalized for COVID-19 last week alone. In July, there were 35 children admitted to hospitals in the city due to COVID-19, and 16 others were logged in June when the number of infections surged.
“This is alarming. A year ago, the number of children who got sick with COVID-19 was negligible,” Yu said.
Dr. Gina Itchon, head for research development of the state-run Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) said the chances that the virus afflicted 12-year-old and younger children a year ago was “very unlikely.”
“Children are supposed to be resistant to the virus but now we are seeing more children getting sick and in serious condition,” Itchon said.
She said an 11-year-old child died of COVID-19 early this month, an indication that children have become vulnerable to the deadly virus.
One of the patients, who had tested positive for Delta variant infection, was just a 10-year-old child.
Cagayan de Oro officials have so far counted 21 confirmed Delta variant cases in Barangay Canitoan, and at least one death was attributed to the more transmissible COVID-19 variant.
Dr. Itchon said the monitoring and assessment of the COVID-19 cases involving children have now become a priority of NMMC’s researchers.
“We should be able to come up with a recommendation after we have evaluated the cases,” she said.
Itchon said the Department of Health (DOH) is now conducting vaccine trials for children but has yet to consider them a priority in the vaccination rollout list. – Rappler.com
Froilan Gallardo is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.