Stony Brook Hospital sees upsurge of pediatric admissions during Omicron wave

Pediatric admissions are surging at Stony Brook Children's Hospital as the highly contagious Omicron variant continues to spread.
Dr. Sharon Nachman, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, says the trend follows what has been seen in other age groups.
"Compared to a month ago, our hospitalizations have skyrocketed," Nachman says. "Similar to what we are seeing in adults were there are many new cases in the emergency room and being admitted to the hospital, we are seeing the same thing in children."
Nachman says most of the younger children get better quickly, but some have trouble breathing and need to be sent to the pediatric ICU.
She attributes this to the new variant being more contagious and some safety measures like mask wearing being relaxed.
Commack resident Jackie McNamara spent the holidays in Florida when her 14-month-old son James contracted the virus and was taken to the emergency room.
"I am a nurse, and it's kind of like all my nursing skills went out the window. When it's your son, it's totally different," McNamara says. "Seeing him lethargic, not being home near my pediatrician, made me a bit nervous."
James was not admitted and is now doing much better.
He is too young to be vaccinated, but 6-year-old Aisha got vaccinated at the Children's Museum of the East End in Bridgehampton.
"I feel really good about it because I can play with my friends and we can have play dates," Aisha says.
Nachman says most of the children who arrive at the Stony Brook Hospital are not vaccinated and their parents are also unvaccinated.
The doctor recommends their children and parents get the vaccine together to form a shield around one another to protect those who are too young to get the vaccine.