Another child died from COVID-19 over the weekend in Memphis, Le Bonheur hospital confirms
Another child has died from COVID-19 in the Mid-South, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital said Monday.
The child died at the hospital over the weekend.
The death is the third that the hospital has publicly reported within the last month, as the delta variant surges across Memphis, the Mid-South and Tennessee.
“The Delta variant has hit children harder than any of the other variants since the start of the pandemic,” Barry Gilmore, chief medical officer at the hospital said in a statement about the death.
“It is important that we all follow Shelby County Health Department’s guidance,” Gilmore continued. “We encourage all eligible people over the age of 12 to get vaccinated, wear masks and social distance in public and practice good handwashing. We want to do everything we can to keep kids from getting COVID-19 and having to come to the hospital.”
It was not immediately clear if the child lived in Shelby County, which has reported two COVID-19 deaths among people younger than 18 throughout the pandemic. Le Bonheur is a regional children’s hospital that provides care to people in neighboring states and counties.
It is rare for children to die of COVID-19, but the hospital has reported deaths more frequently as the dominant, more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus largely infects people who are unvaccinated. Among that population are children younger than 12, who are not yet eligible for vaccine.
While Memphis teens have seen the greatest growth of any age group across eight regions of the state, many are still unvaccinated.
Pediatricians at the hospital have been calling public attention to the fact that the recent surge of COVID-19, which recently surpassed local records set during last winter’s surge, is impacting children.
“It’s important for everyone to know that we’re seeing sicker kids, we’re seeing more kids be admitted that are sick with actual COVID illness, and that those kids, some of them are in our intensive care unit and some of them are intubated,” Le Bonheur’s Dr. Nick Hysmith, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, said earlier this month at the time of two other child COVID-19 deaths.
“I just think it’s really important for the public to realize that kids are getting sick,” Hysmith said. “This is happening.”
Combined with an increase in cases of respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV, Le Bonheur and other pediatric hospitals in Tennessee and across the South have been strained.
Local leaders recently convened for a tour of the hospital, and urged all people eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated. Reducing cases in the community helps to keep children in school, Dr. Sandy Arnold, chief of infectious diseases at Le Bonheur, said at the Aug. 13 conference. Stay connected to news near you.What you get with your account:
At the time, COVID-19 cases among children were above what the hospital wanted to see but were possibly starting to plateau.
Hospitalizations among children with COVID-19 are uncommon but occurring in greater numbers than typical during the pandemic.
Total cases among children across the state are beginning to hit record levels, data show.
There are nearly 16,000 cases among school-aged children, age 5 to 18, reported to the state health department over the last two weeks. Of those, 2,025 are in Shelby County.
The state is not accepting or publishing reports of cases by school or school district, but incomplete information provided to The Commercial Appeal by local school districts shows at least hundreds of students are in quarantine.