Covid: More children hospitalised in last three months in health board than entire pandemic

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More children aged 15 and under have been hospitalised with Covid-19 in the Swansea Bay area over the last three months than the whole of the rest of the pandemic, according to the health board.

Swansea Bay University Health Board have said that 93 children in the Swansea and Neath Port Talbot area have needed hospital treatment for Covid-19 since March 2020.

45 of those admitted for inpatient treatment have been in the last three months.

Figures suggest the coronavirus infection rate amongst comprehensive school age children in the region are as high as one in 50.

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“These cases demonstrate that children are not invulnerable to Covid-19, and can and do become ill from it,” said Swansea Bay Director of Public Health, Dr Keith Reid.

“While children are much less likely than older adults to get seriously ill with Covid, it is noticeable and worrying that there is currently a spike in paediatric admissions.

“However this is not surprising given that there has been such a big rise overall in the numbers of comprehensive school age children getting Covid in our region.

"Unfortunately, there is also an increase in younger primary age children now testing positive as well.

“Swansea Bay currently has some of the highest overall Covid-19 infection rates in the UK, and younger people – particularly under-18s – are now by far the biggest single group of confirmed infections.”

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Swansea Bay UHB currently has 65 confirmed Covid-19 cases in their hospitals, with ninepeople receiving critical care.

The Neath Port Talbot local authority area currently has the second highest coronavirus case rate in the UK with 928.1 cases per 100,000 people.

In the two peaks of the pandemic - in March/April 2020 and December 2020/January 2021 - around 3-4% of coronavirus inpatients were aged 16 to 29.

But now the number of young adults has quadrupled making up between 13.7% -18.6% of cases on wards.

“People are still being admitted with Covid-19, and some of them have been vaccinated. But that does not mean the vaccine isn’t working,” said Dr Reid.

“On the contrary. Community infection rates in Swansea Bay are now as high as they were in the highest peak in December and January, but inpatient rates are about a third of what they were then. And of the people admitted, fewer need critical care.

“The difference in the proportion of younger and older inpatients in our hospitals since the vaccination programme began also demonstrates the protection the vaccine offers.

“The vaccination is not guaranteed to stop you getting Covid, but if you do, you are likely to get less sick. This is because the vaccine has already trained your immune system to fight the virus. These real-life statistics bear this out.”