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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)-The New York State Department of Health (DOH) released a warning about a dramatic rise in the number of kids hospitalized with COVID-19 in New York City and its surrounding areas on Christmas Eve.

The department followed up with a report detailing further concerning information on Friday.

Hospitalizations of kids with COVID continue to rise. From the week of Dec. 5 to 11 to the week of Dec. 26 to Jan. 1 hospitalization in kids up to the age of 18 increased from 70 to 571 statewide a week. They said more than half of the kids hospitalized (54%) had no previously existing health issues.

Unvaccinated kids remain most vulnerable to hospitalization. The percentage of unvaccinated kids 5-11-years-old admitted to the hospital with COVID was 91%, for unvaccinated 12-17-year-olds it was 65%.

“This report highlights the critical need of safeguarding our children through vaccination,” said Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Pediatricians, parents, and guardians must do everything possible to ensure their children are fully vaccinated, those 16 and older are boosted, and that children under four are protected because all those around them are fully vaccinated.”

Hospitalizations because of COVID in all age groups have been on the rise but the DOH said no other age group is rising faster than kids 18 years old and younger. Hospitalizations in kids grew between 335% and 1047% from the week of Dec. 5-11 and the week of Dec. 26- Jan. 1. Below is the hospitalization rate for each age group.

Age groupHospitalization rate
0-4791%
5-11335%
12-181047%
Source: DOH


New pediatric hospital admissions are increasing most rapidly in New York City and mid-Hudson Valley region with a seventeen-fold and eight-fold increase, respectively, far surpassing the four-fold increase, DOH warned about Dec. 24.

“During this period of increased spread, layered mitigation is also needed to reduce transmission. This means wearing a proper, well-fitting mask indoors and being conscious of crowds – situations in which the vaccination status of others is unknown,” Bassett said.

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