There are currently 11 kids in B.C. Children’s Hospital infected with Omicron, though only a quarter of them were admitted due to complications with the virus.
B.C. Children’s Hospital director Dr. Manish Sadarangani said that as Omicron infections surge, the hospital will see increasing numbers of children with the disease. But that doesn’t mean all kids with COVID in the hospital are there with a severe case.
“Overall we’ve been very fortunate as pediatricians and as parents that COVID itself has been relatively mild in the majority of children and that is also the case for Omicron.”
He added that most children do not see prolonged COVID symptoms or “long COVID” that has been seen in adults.
Sadarangani said the hospital has strict control measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases within the hospital and parents shouldn’t worry that their children could catch COVID at B.C. Children’s.
“These children for the most part are not children who have caught the infection in the hospital, they’re in the hospital and they have been diagnosed.”
When it comes to COVID’s impact on children, Sadarangani said the most concerning impacts are on mental health.
“In the school-aged children they have the impact of the disruptions in their schooling… in the older kids there are those who have been having trouble with mental health disorders like anxiety and various things to do with COVID.”
“COVID has had such a huge impact on the adult population and that has a trickle-down effect on children as well.”
Sadarangani recommends parents check-in with their kids to see how they’re doing with pandemic-induced stress and reducing screentime wherever possible.
“Make sure kids are eating and drinking well and getting good amounts of physical exercise,” he added. “Try to be creative in terms of activities and try to keep them connected with their social networks. If it’s not possible to do that in person then try to keep them connected through safe online means, on the phone or whatever it is.”
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