GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Doctors in the Upstate are warning that omicron cases continue to peak.
They said there has been a 51% increase in hospitalizations over the past week. There are upwards of 620 patients hospitalized with COVID across Prisma Health campuses – an all time high.
Doctors say dozens of those are unvaccinated children.
Prisma Health doctors say they continue to deal with the omicron variant surge.
“We’ve seen the numbers of these COVID patients rise at a rate that is nearly vertical,” Dr. Wendell James, the incident commander at Prisma Health, said.
And numbers continue to skyrocket.
“It’s rapidly approaching or will exceed the numbers of patients that we have seen with previous variants if the rate of rise continues,” Wendell said.
This surge is not just affecting adults but children too.
“It does seem that many families where the child is not vaccinated a lot of times the rest of the family members are not vaccinated either,” Dr. Anna-Kathryn Burch, pediatric infectious disease physician, said.
In the Upstate, there are 16 children hospitalized with COVID, two of them are in the ICU. System wide, Prisma is caring for 43 pediatric patients with three on ventilators.
“How do you prevent your child from getting hospitalized with COVID? The best way that you could do that is to get your child vaccinated, if they’re eligible,” Dr. Burch said.
Doctors say children who are in the hospital are either not vaccinated or ineligible.
They say the difference with this surge is that many children are now able to be vaccinated.
Doctors say the best way to protect everyone remains inoculation.
“It’s just not a part of what we are seeing with hospitalized children they are not immunized,” Dr. Robin LaCroix, Prisma Health Children’s Hospital medical director in the Upstate.
Prisma doctors said vaccines are being offered to families who are unvaccinated when they are discharged from the hospital. Prisma doctors said 78% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated.