PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As COVID cases continue to rise, local doctors say so are cases among kids. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh has opened a second unit to accommodate the number of kids admitted with the virus.

Pediatrician Dr. Raymond Pitetti with Childen’s Hospital says the volume of patients coming in has increased dramatically. He says the area the hospital had designated just for COVID patients filled up, so he says adding a second unit was necessary. He says he’s concerned as COVID cases continue to rise among children, saying the number of positive cases is going up fast.

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“This time last year we might have had four to five positive patients a day. We are typically calling anywhere from 30 to 50 patients back with positive results,” said Pitetti.

While he says most of the kids with positive results get sent home, he says he’s seeing more kids admitted to the hospital with COVID. That’s why he says Children’s had to take action right away and converted an inpatient unit in the hospital into a second COVID ward about two weeks ago.

“What we are finding is that area of the hospital is becoming full and so additional COVID patients, what we wanted to do was cohort them all together as well,” said Pitetti.

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He says the rise in COVID cases is likely due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant and recent holiday gatherings.

Parents like Robert Morrow say they’re worried. He has two kids under 5. One is currently in Children’s with a non-COVIDrelated health issue.

“COVID can really affect him if he possibly gets it without being vaccinated,” said Morrow.

Pitetti stresses getting your kids vaccinated if they’re eligible and getting them tested.

“If you have symptoms, you shouldn’t be out and about, but now a cold may signify something much worse,” said Pitetti.

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Pitetti wants to stress that you don’t need to bring your child to the ER if they have mild COVID symptoms. He says they’re seeing more and more parents bringing their kids in to get a COVID test. He says it’s not necessary to do that unless it’s a more serious case. He says calling your child’s pediatrician is best.