HEALTH

Primary Children’s Hospital plea to parents: take COVID-19 seriously

Sep 9, 2021, 12:18 PM

Primary Children's Hospital (Photo credit: KSL.com)

(Photo credit: KSL.com)

SALT LAKE CITY — Doctors and nurses at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake are pleading with people to get vaccinated and have kids wear masks in school as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

Jacob Ferrin is a registered nurse who treats kids with COVID-19.  He says most kids end up getting through the illness without problems, but it’s devastating for those who don’t and end up in the ICU. 

Read more: One more Utahn between 15 and 24 has died of COVID-19

He says health care workers keep COVID patients at Primary Children’s isolated to keep cancer patients and other children in the hospital safe.  Plus, many of the kids in the hospital with COVID suffer with extreme inflammation that makes their entire body hurt. He describes it as a “wildfire” surging through their bodies.

“When they are in that isolation, they are in a room by themself.  And we can’t let the kid leave the room, we can’t let the family come and go as they please, and it’s a struggle,” said Ferrin.

Dr. Andrew Pavia, who works with both University of Utah Health and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, says CDC information shows a strong correlation between a higher number of vaccinated adults and fewer kids coming down with COVID.  He also says the number of COVID infected kids in Utah is going up quickly.

“At Primary Children’s the number of children being hospitalized keeps creeping up.  In May, we went weeks at a time with almost no children who were hospitalized.  We are now averaging eight to twelve with several in the ICU, said Pavia. “Every child who is suffering in the ICU is really personal.  It’s a big deal to their parents, it’s a huge impact into the caregivers, it’s really a devastating thing to see.”

Read more: Utah House Speaker: More vaccinated will ease hospital strain

Dr. Pavia says they aren’t overwhelmed with child COVID patients at Primary Children’s. Yet. But he worries that the combination of COVID plus a big surge in RSV cases and other illnesses circulating right now could stress the hospital staff and capacity to a breaking point. 

Pavia asks that children mask up at school to stop the current surge in infections, saying data gathered right here in Utah shows that when kids wear masks in schools, it makes a big difference in COVID case counts.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Obtain a flu shot.
  • Seek out the COVID-19 vaccine.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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Primary Children’s Hospital plea to parents: take COVID-19 seriously