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Half Of Available Pediatric ICU Beds In Orange County Are Filled With COVID Patients

a young boy covers his face as an adult wearing latex gloves strokes his hair
Junior, 7, is comforted by his father, Marvin, after receiving a COVID-19 swab test at a clinic on May 5, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut.
(John Moore
Getty Images)
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On Tuesday, Orange County Health Officer Clayton Chau announced there are four children with COVID-19 in ICUs. This follows a troubling rise in positive cases in children in neighboring Los Angeles County.

Officials say that these patients take up about half of the County's available pediatric ICU beds. Chau predicts more cases among kids in OC before summer is over.

"When you compare the number of cases in children this time versus the last summer peak, we already surpassed the number last summer," Chau said. "And I think it's because June 15th happened."

June 15 is when the state removed many COVID-related restrictions and did away with the color-coded tier system that defined the level of contagion in each county.

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Orange County has had 16 underage COVID patients since the beginning of August. Chau said many of these patients contracted COVID from a family member and are unable to get vaccinated due to their age.

Chau told reporters that the county will soon separate coronavirus infections on its case reporting dashboard by age for both children under 12 and under 5 in anticipation of vaccines getting authorized for younger children.

Anyone age 12 and up can get fully vaccinated now with the Pfizer vaccine. Health officials are still working on a vaccine for younger children.

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Updated August 18, 2021 at 10:36 AM PDT
This article was updated with details about vaccine availability for children.