NEW YORK — The number of children in New York admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 skyrocketed more than 700% in December, state Health Department data released on Friday shows.
By comparison, DOH data shows COVID hospitalizations for all age groups combined increased about 200% statewide.
Between Dec. 5 and Jan. 1, new pediatric hospital admissions for children 18 and younger increased from 70 to 571, according to the DOH report. In New York City, the increase went from 22 children admitted to 385.
Last week, 54% of children who were hospitalized had no comorbidities and 70% were symptomatic. And while 41% of the children were not admitted primarily for COVID-19, DOH officials said the most common reasons for admission were acute and chronic medical conditions that could be exacerbated by the virus. Only 2.1% of admissions — 12 out of 571 — were related to trauma or injury.
Acting state Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said the data highlights the need for parents to get their eligible children vaccinated against COVID-19.
Of the children recently admitted to the hospital statewide, 91% of 5- to 11-year-olds were unvaccinated and 65% of 12- to 17-year-olds were unvaccinated, according to DOH. Most notably, 55% of pediatric hospitalizations were children 4 and younger, who are not yet eligible for COVID vaccines.
“Pediatricians, parents, and guardians must do everything possible to ensure their children are fully vaccinated, those 12 and older are boosted as soon as eligible, and that children under 4 are protected because all those around them are fully vaccinated,” Bassett said in a statement on Friday. “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.”
As of Friday, 20% of the state’s 5- to 11-year-olds and 65% of 12- to 17-year-olds were fully vaccinated.