Hospital filling up with kids
The Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health (QSNICH) is increasingly admitting young children sick with Covid-19 and is recommending home isolation for those showing mild or no symptoms, according to the QSNICH.
More than 80% of beds for young children are now occupied at the institute which is in Ratchathewi District, said Dr Adisai Pattatang, the institute's director.
Many of the children contracted the virus from their parents and then passed it on to friends in on-site classes, he said.
Dr Adisai said home isolation was being offered to Covid-infected children aged one and over, who are asymptomatic.
About 50% of young children infected with Covid-19, and who are currently hospitalised at the QSNICH, do not show symptoms. Only 2.2% of them are in a severe condition.
Hospital beds for young children are being taken up because many of them were not vaccinated and became infected with the Omicron variant by friends at school.
Omicron, although highly transmissible, is easy to treat with flu-like conditions lasting about five days. Most young children are completely cured in 10 to 14 days, provided they receive proper treatment and care. If they come down with symptoms, they are administered with favipiravir pills.
Dr Adisai said priority for Covid-19 treatment is given to admitting children younger than one year old and those suffering underlying ailments.
Children recommended for home quarantine must not be experiencing a high fever or have an underlying illness. In general, those in home quarantine have their conditions monitored via Line and video calls from doctors at hospitals in their catchment areas.
One catchment hospital takes care of around 30 cases, he said.
At the QSNICH, there has been a 30% rise in caseloads involving young children in the first half of this month, compared to last month.
Altogether 56 beds at the institute are taken up by young children sick with Covid-19. Another 20 beds are given to their parents who also contracted the virus and were caring for their ill children.
Dr Adisai said children recover faster when they are with their parents who can also convince them to take the medication.
Meanwhile, at least 70 students were confirmed to have caught Covid-19 during a sporting event at a school in Surin on Feb 17, according to local authorities.
The latest cluster of infections in the province has sent hundreds of other students of the Ban Roon School in Phanom Dong Rak district into home quarantine.
In neighbouring Buri Ram, more than 260,000 students in 1,500 schools and educational institutes in the province have switched back to studying online in light of surging caseloads.
In total, 689 students have fallen ill with Covid-19 since Jan 27. Of them, 352 attended primary schools, 284 in secondary schools and the rest in tertiary institutes.