DENVER (CBS4) — Some of the youngest patients in the world to test positive for COVID-19 are being treated at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver. CBS4’s Dillon Thomas has learned infants, some just days old, are getting symptoms and testing positive for the virus.
“We’ve had a newborn who had full-blown COVID,” said Dr. Reginald Washington, Chief Medical Officer for HealthONE’s RMHC. “We’ve seen every age (test positive) from newborn to 18.”
While it is rare for children, especially infants, to contract coronavirus and show symptoms, Washington said no person should be considered immune to the virus.
The hospital recently treated a 12-day-old child for the virus, a child who was symptomatic.
“We’ve had a child who was born with COVID who came to us from another state,” Washington said.
While many children who contract COVID-19 do not show symptoms, Dr. Washington said others are showing the same symptoms of adults.
Newborns have had the coughing issues, shortness of breath, fevers and overall irritability. Some also show symptoms that adults do not, including increased odds of diarrhea, Washington said.
“The data in children shows they are more resilient to COVID virus than adults. I wouldn’t be overly fearful that COVID is going to take them out,” Washington said.
As the virus surges, causing many hospital beds to fill across the nation, Washington said so, too, has cases of pregnant women delivering children while actively testing positive for coronavirus.
While most are able to give birth naturally, others are left with no option but caesarean section deliveries to protect the health of both the mother and child.
“We isolate their babies until the babies test positive, or negative. Most of those babies do very well and have no symptoms,” Washington said.
Treatment for newborns is often the same as that which adults would receive. Washington said newborns are responding well to both convalescent plasma transfusions and steroids.
Washington, a well-respected medical expert in the Denver community, said expecting parents shouldn’t be overly concerned with coronavirus impacting their child’s life expectancy.
“I wouldn’t fear for fatalities. I think that is probably overreach,” Washington said.
Health experts said pregnant women should continue practicing social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing and other preventative measures.
HealthONE has treated COVID-19 patients as old as 103, and as young as a newborn. While each patient is valued equally, Washington said it is emotionally taxing to see newborns with the same respiratory issues as grown adults.
“It takes a toll on all healthcare providers. Not because it is COVID, but because it is a sick child,” Washington said.
While HealthONE, and Washington, could not comment on the exact ages of the handful of children who have died in their hospitals due COVID-19, Washington said an overwhelming majority continue to recover.