Mother of Young Child Hospitalized with COVID-19 Shares Story

Cecilia, a healthy 2-year old girl with no preexisting condition, was hospitalized for a week fighting COVID-19.

It all began with a cough that developed into a fever. Little Cecilia tested positive for COVID-19. Within a few days, she began struggling to breathe and was admitted to Children’s Hospital Colorado.

“She was having a hard time eating and drinking because of how unwell she was feeling” and treated with oxygen, IV fluids and steroids, her mother, Tiffany, told Denver7 News, an ABC affiliate. Cecelia had no confirmed contact with anyone who had COVID-19, and all the adults she was with had been vaccinated.

“She is normally so full of life and fun and happy. For that whole time [in the hospital], she was just exhausted and working hard to breathe,” her mom explained.

The pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s Colorado has seen a 60% increase in overall admissions and its emergency department has seen a 20% to 50% increase in admissions, due to a surge in COVID-19 and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) cases.

“We wanted to share our story because we’re hoping that people will at least consider getting vaccinated, if not for themselves, for our young children who can’t,” said Tiffany.

In a recent “Charting Pediatrics” podcast episode, David Brumbaugh, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children’s Colorado, proclaimed that COVID-19 came back “with a vengeance” as children returned to school this fall. Between the rise of the delta variant, a national nursing shortage that is affecting pediatric hospitals and many community practices, mask mandates and the “eager anticipation” of emergency use authorization extension of the COVID-19 vaccine in kids ages 5 to 11, “we in health care find ourselves in a sobering reality that this pandemic is very much alive,” he said.

During the podcast, Brumbaugh and two fellow pediatric specialists discuss the recent increase in pediatric COVID-19 cases, which they expect to continue and potentially peak in late October 2021. In addition, cases of RSV and other respiratory viruses are spiking. Why? Part of it is because communities are lowering some precautionary measures — not masking, getting back together and traveling again, said Jessica Cataldi, M.D., a Children’s Hospital pediatrician who specializes in infectious disease, during the podcast.

Cataldi emphasized the importance of school-age children wearing masks in classrooms for safe in-person learning, a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Academy of Pediatrics and supported by the National Association of School Nurses and all of the large infectious disease societies. Universal masking will “help keep kids healthy and help keep kids in school, so they don’t have to quarantine and we don’t have cases, quarantines and outbreaks,” Cataldi explained.

The Children’s Hospital Colorado online information hub devoted to sharing important updates on COVID-19 — all geared to parents and families — includes “Q&A: Back to School in Year Two of the COVID Pandemic” with recommendations for keeping kids safe in school.