NM health experts worry about increase of COVID-19 cases in children

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico health experts are noting a concerning trend. More children are being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 — in some cases, even newborns.

Dr. Alex Cvijanovich, a pediatrician at Presbyterian, said it’s not only older children and teens getting hospitalized, but she’s admitting newborns too.

“Over the last few days, UNM Hospital has seen an increase in the number of pediatric patients that we are taking care of,” she said. “What we are seeing more of is the kids, the babies under one, are being hospitalized at a slightly higher rate than the kids ages one through four."

She stressed that children ages 12 and up get vaccinated as some children leave the hospital suffering from long-lasting impacts.

"Children are experiencing prolonged respiratory symptoms, fatigue, shortness of breath, exercise intolerance and some brain fog,” said Cvijanovich.

She said the number of children being admitted is relatively low, but she worries what the situation will look like once school starts statewide.

“I think that’s a big concern that there has already been an uptick in hospitalizations for pediatric patients, and that’s even before school has started," Cvijanovich said.

She says the mask requirements and social distancing at APS will be key in preventing the spread.

Recently, health experts pleaded with the state to get vaccinated because hospitals are already full.

"Nearly all of us are full for both ICU and non-ICU beds, there’s very little additional capacity,” said Dr. Denise Gonzales, Presbyterian Healthcare Service’s medical director. "In Presbyterian, statewide, we’re experiencing a doubling every week. Three weeks ago we had about 22 patients, last week about 45 and this week we have had nearly 90 patients hospitalized with COVID."