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COVID-19 update: AdventHealth epidemiologist says child hospitalizations are up but Omicron cases are milder

Dr. Vincent Hsu says the number of children hospitalized at Advent Health Central Florida hospitals with COVID-19 is at about the same level as during the Delta surge. But with the milder Omicron variant they are generally staying out of the ICU and off of ventilators. Image: AdventHealth via Facebook

An epidemiologist with AdventHealth Central Florida said the number of children with COVID-19 in their hospitals is about the same as during the late summer’s Delta surge.

AdventHealth did not specify the number of children but said that, as of Wednesday, the total COVID-19 hospitalizations are 630.

Dr. Vincent Hsu is the executive director of infection prevention for AdventHealth Central Florida.

He said the number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 is likely due to the prevalence of the extremely transmissible Omicron variant.

“But what we’re hearing is that we don’t see a significant number of ICU cases or ventilated children,” he added. “And again, even though they’re milder, I want to stress that just being in the hospital is not a good thing. We want to treat this virus with respect. (17)

Hsu said children should be vaccinated if they’re old enough and should wear masks at school.

And he said that, even though current vaccines are less effective against Omicron, those shots — and the booster when possible — will protect against severe illness.


Amid yet another surge of COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant, what can the rest of us do to help our health care workers?

Hsu’s answer? Do what you can to avoid getting sick.

“We’re very tired,” he said. “I’m very tired. You’re very tired. But let’s hang on there. At least get this surge going down and over with. And if you can do what you can to avoid getting ill that would certainly be the best thing for our health care providers to provide them some relief.

That means getting vaccinated — or boosted if you can — wearing masks and avoiding crowds.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.