On Sept. 17, UPMC announced the opening of a medical tent for the hospital’s Emergency Department in a tweet that called the number of children coming in as “historic.” Children’s hospital is the only pediatric hospital in the Pittsburgh region.
COVID cases among children have been increasing quickly in Allegheny County over the last few months. Dr. Debra Bogen, director of the Allegheny County Health Department, told reporters that children ages 12 and under made up 12% of the county’s cases in August. COVID cases in Allegheny County among people under 18 years old were 148 in June, 277 in July, and jumped exponentially to 1,127 in August.
The number of children coming to the Emergency Department at UPMC Children’s is historic, says Dr. Ray Pitetti. In response, the hospital is opening an ED Fast Track area and establishing an ED medical tent. For COVID testing locations near you, click herehttps://t.co/ZqijfqPI6P pic.twitter.com/OWr8kGuqje— UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (@ChildrensPgh) September 17, 2021
And it’s not just children. COVID cases among adults have also been increasing. Over the last week, Allegheny County has been averaging about 400 daily COVID cases. In June, the county was averaging about a dozen daily COVID cases.
Additionally, with the Delta variant — which is more contagious than other variants — spreading, even more vaccinated people are catching COVID (although hospitalization and death rates remain very small among the vaccinated.) Bogen said that about 23% of Allegheny County’s new cases in August were “breakthrough” cases, which is the term used for a fully vaccinated person who contracts COVID.
However, only 10% of hospitalizations in Allegheny County were breakthrough cases, with the vast majority of COVID hospitalizations in the county being people who haven’t received the COVID-19 vaccine.
“In other words, the vaccines continue to do their job: protect from serious illness, hospitalization, and death,” said Bogen, according to PublicSource.
After seeing relatively fast rates of people getting the vaccine, the vaccination rates in Allegheny County have plateaued. As of Sept. 15, about 71% of Allegheny County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.