UVA seeing increase in COVID-19 patients, including more kids and pregnant women

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 3:13 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The University of Virginia Medical Center is seeing a steady increase in COVID-19 patients.

UVA Health Chief Medical Officer Doctor Reid Adams announced during a press conference Friday, August 13, that the university is currently treating 31 coronavirus patients. About half of them are currently in intensive care.

“Versus probably four or five weeks ago, our volume is about three times what it was,” Adams said. “A reasonable number of those testing positive and in the hospital are women that are pregnant, and/or delivering.”

The COVID-19 vaccine was not originally recommended for pregnant mothers, since they were not a part of clinical trials. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is giving them the green light to get vaccinated.

“Getting vaccinated as a pregnant woman allows you to develop antibodies to COVID that benefit not only you, but your child after delivery through breastfeeding,” Dr. Costi Sifri, an epidemiologist with UVA Health, said.

Both doctors say getting pregnant women vaccinated will help prevent hospitals from filing up.

“When patients are admitted to the intensive care unit with COVID, they have long lengths of stay. So it does become resource constrained,” Sifri said. “We don’t have an unlimited number of ICU beds and ICU nurses and physicians.”

Another group they’re worried about: children.

“Right now, with the Delta variant wave, we are seeing more and more pediatric infections and we are hearing about strains in healthcare systems and pediatric ICUs in places where the delta variant is raging,” Sifri explained.

In Albemarle County, about three out of four eligible children are fully vaccinated. But nationwide, Sifri said only about a third of all eligible children age 12 and above have received their shots.

“I think we can do better than that,” Sifri said.

More research and review must happen first before kids younger than 12 years old will be eligible for a vaccine. Sifri said that could happen by this winter, but an exact timeline has not been provided.

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