More children in NJ test positive for COVID as wave continues


A growing number of New Jersey children are testing positive for COVID-19, and some are falling ill and being hospitalized.

According to Dr Meg Fisher, pediatric infectious disease expert and special advisor to State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, as the omicron variant began to spread, the increase in positive cases of COVID in children has dramatic summer.

The numbers go higher

She said earlier this fall that about 2,000 children a week are being tested for COVID in New Jersey, but by last week that number had risen to 18,000.

In September, about 7% of children in New Jersey who tested for COVID were positive for the virus, but last week about 45% of all children tested were positive.

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“The numbers are clearly increasing and the number of children sick enough to be hospitalized has significantly increased,” she said.

In early December, there were 11 children in hospital with COVID or under investigation for the virus, but by the end of last week that number had risen to 87.

She noted that some of these children were in the hospital for other problems like broken bones and had coincidentally tested positive for the virus, but around 40 children were being treated specifically for the symptoms of COVID.

Omicron’s fault

She said the reason so many children test positive and others get sick is the omicron variant.

“We don’t think it makes children any sicker, but we know for sure that it is much more highly transmissible. We also know that the number of our communities is increasing dramatically, ”she said.

She pointed out that the children had been home during the winter school break for the past few weeks, so they have been in the community more than usual and have been exposed to more adults in different situations, which has helped to increase the number of positive cases. .

She said another factor that comes into play is that children are less vaccinated than adults, so they are more likely to get infected.

There are approximately 760,000 children aged 5 to 11 in New Jersey, and only 27% have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

But the virus is still potentially dangerous

She said it’s important to remember that children who contract the virus can also end up with “a long COVID, where you show symptoms for weeks or even months after your recovery, and we know it. this multisystemic inflammatory disease exists in children ”.

There have been 155 cases of MIS-C. While several children were treated in intensive care, none died of the disease.

Children with underlying illnesses such as cancer and lung or heart problems are also more vulnerable.

There have been a thousand deaths from COVID in children across the country since the start of the pandemic, including eight in New Jersey – a small number compared to adult victims, but it is still one of the 5 main causes of death in childhood.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at [email protected]

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