COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York are increasing fastest among children — and by the largest numbers in the downstate region, according to a report released today by the New York State Department of Health.

Pediatric admissions increased 17-fold in New York City and 8-fold in the Long Island/Mid-Hudson region between Nov. 28 and Jan 1, according to the report.

The health department report says 70% of children hospitalized with COVID-19 were symptomatic for COVID-19 at the time of admission.

About 60% of pediatric admissions were for COVID-19, while about 40% were for other reasons but had COVID-19 when admitted.

Statewide, pediatric admissions (18 and under) jumped from 85 in the week of Nov. 28-Dec. 4 to 571 in the week of Dec. 26-Jan.1. The Dec. 26 data included Christmas Day also, so it was data for eight days rather than seven.

For the same period, admissions in Long Island/Mid-Hudson regions rose from 9 in the week of Nov. 28-Dec. 4 to 112 in the week of Dec. 26 – Jan. 1 (again, including data from Dec. 25.) Overall a total of 194 children were admitted to hospitals in these two regions combined between Nov. 28 and Jan. 1 , according to the data presented in the report.

Hospitalizations among vaccinated children have increased over the same weeks, reflecting a reduction in vaccine effectiveness against the omicron variant. Nevertheless, as of the week beginning Dec. 20, unvaccinated children accounted for 65% of pediatric hospitalizations.

“Together these findings suggest an important pattern of increasing severe COVID-19 disease in the pediatric population,”the report states.

“This may be explained by a combination of lower full vaccination (and booster) coverage, changes in vaccine effectiveness, severity of the omicron variant, and/or other factors,” it says.

“Nonetheless, these data support that to directly protect the health of our youngest New Yorkers, vaccination of children remains a critical, highly protective strategy and should be combined with other measures to reduce exposure, such as mask wearing,” it reads. “Children 0 to 4 years are not currently eligible for vaccination and such additional measures remain important to protecting their health during the current winter wave.”

Pediatric Covid-19 Hospitalization Report by RiverheadLOCAL on Scribd

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.