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As child COVID cases rise, local father recalls son's battle

Pediatric omicron cases on the rise
Posted at 7:33 PM, Dec 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-27 22:08:11-05

CINCINNATI — As the COVID-19 omicron variant promises to push the case load higher throughout the holidays, some states, like New York, are noting an increase in child hospitalizations due to the virus.

Right now, the number of children hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Ohio remains under 100. Doctors in Cincinnati said the trends in other states could unfold here by the end of January.

Jordan Neff’s son, Jack, was hospitalized on Sunday due to the virus.

“He’s a pretty vibrant, strong kid. That’s why it came as such a surprise the way that he got so sick so quickly,” Neff said.

It was the day after Christmas when Neff said his son began running a fever so high, he had a seizure.

"What happened yesterday was one of the worst things in my life. I certainly wouldn't want that for anyone else,” Neff said.

Neff cried when he recalled the ambulance rushing his 2-year-old to Cincinnati Children’s.

“We took every precaution imaginable, and it still really hit us in a way that was incredibly scary,” Neff said.

Especially with something as transmittable as omicron, we’re going to have a ton a positive tests,” said Dr. Stephen Feagins, a Child Clinical Officer at Mercy Health. Feagins has been one of the region's leaders in responding to the pandemic.

He said omicron may be less severe than the delta variant, but it appears to affect the upper respiratory tract. He said children are more susceptible to those types of illnesses and it is time for parents to become more strict about masking children in public.

Masking is more important for children under the age of 5, like Jack, who are too young for any of the COVID-19 vaccines.

"We are really thankful that she [Jack’s sister] is vaccinated and his mom is vaccinated,” Neff said. “We were around their grandparents the day before he started to show symptoms. I'm glad that they're vaccinated and boosted, because I guess this all would have been, could have been, much worse."

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