UPMC Children’s Hospital Prepares for Omicron Surge

By: Harry "Quincy" Nolan

Dr. Raymond Pitetti

With more children needing hospitalization due to the Omicron variant, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh has allocated additional rooms for the treatment of COVID-19 to accommodate the uptick of inpatients.

“We have the ability to transition existing beds within the hospital to safely manage and accommodate patients with COVID-19,” said Dr. Raymond Pitetti, director of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine. “Being able to group our COVID-19 patients together helps us ensure their safety, as well as the safety of other patients, and our staff.”

Dr. Pitetti noted that although more children need hospitalization, significantly fewer need intensive care than earlier in the pandemic. “It is scary for everyone, but UPMC Children’s is here for the community. We have the capacity to accommodate these rising numbers and we are open and ready to care for any child that comes through our doors, whether it is for COVID-19 or something else,” Pitetti continued.

Dr. Pitetti stresses that with the severity of Omicron’s contagiousness, it is important to continue to take the precautionary steps that keep the community safe.

• Masking remains one of the most crucial tools in slowing the spread of the virus. It is important that everyone continues to wear masks, correctly, above the nose.

• Vaccination helps create a more robust set of antibodies and allows the body to better recognize future virus. Even though Omicron is more transmissible than Delta, those who are vaccinated experience notably fewer complications than those who are unvaccinated. If someone is experiencing symptoms, they should get tested and limit contact with others until results are in.

Dr. Pitetti notes there has been a trend of children with COVID-19 displaying more gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea and vomiting, than the average adult. If unsure of what action to take, families can set up a UPMC AnywhereCare virtual visit to receive medical advice.