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COVID-19 hospitalizations continues to impact children in the Mid-South

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 4:40 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn, Little Rock, Arkansas. (WMC) - COVID-19 continues to impact children in the Mid-South at a higher rate than at any other point during the pandemic.

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital is currently treating 12 children for COVID-19. Seven of them are in the ICU. Five are on ventilators. None of the patients are vaccinated, even the ones who are eligible.

“It’s a physically and emotionally wearing time for everybody but I don’t want people to think that they can’t come to Le Bonheur and get the care that they need,” said Dr. Sandy Arnold, the Division Chief of Infectious Diseases at Le Bonheur Children’s.

In Arkansas the number of children hospitalized with the virus reached its highest point in August.

There were 129 hospitalizations compared to 76 in January during the state’s previous peak.

As the debate over masks in schools continues, Arkansas’ Bureau of Legislative Research conducted a survey of 180 school districts and compared districts with a full mask policy to districts without one.

“What we found in all cases was the percentage of students or employees with COVID or quarantines was higher in those schools that had no mask policy versus the schools that had the mask policy,” said July Holt, the Administrator of Research for the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research.

In Shelby County masks are currently required in schools after a federal judge temporarily blocked Governor Bill Lee’s executive order giving parents the choice to opt out.

“I think if we enforce masking, and we get people to wear masks properly, and try to limit children being around each other without masks on then it should help,” said Dr. Arnold, “What will actually happen in reality remains to be seen.”

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