Wednesday Media Briefing on COVID-19

Wednesday Media Briefing on COVID-19

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The number of COVID-19 patients being treated at The University of Kansas Health System is back up a bit today. 31 people with the active virus are being treated, up from 28 yesterday. Of those patients, eight are in the ICU, down from nine yesterday. Two of those ICU patients are on ventilators today, down from three yesterday. 39 other patients are still hospitalized because of COVID-19 but are out of the acute infection phase, down from 42 yesterday. That’s a total of 70 patients, the same as yesterday. In addition, HaysMed has a total of 18 COVID-19 inpatients, up from 12 yesterday, with 11 of those active patients and seven in the recovery phase.
On today’s Morning Media Update, sleep deprivation during a pandemic doesn’t just happen to adults. Pediatrician Stephen Lauer joined us to talk about sleep problems and stress in children, plus what’s normal and what’s not. He discussed symptoms to watch for and advice for helping kids get a good night’s sleep.
Dr. Lauer said one good thing to come from the pandemic is a lot of healthy kids. This time of year is when the clinic is usually overwhelmed with flu and RSV cases and there have been none to speak of. He credits it to people following the rules of infection control. But he says pediatric clinics are becoming more like mental health clinics with virus down and anxiety, sleep and nutrition problems up significantly. He is seeing a lot of kids with sleep problems and says with school disruptions and parents working from home, family routines have changed, which affects sleep patterns. He says families must think of sleep as an activity you have to get ready for. He advises turning down the sensory temperature in the room which involves light, sound and actual temperature. He says turning off electronics is vital to getting your brain and body ready for sleep and recommends starting an hour before the desired sleep time. To find the right time, he tells parents to work backward from the time their child must wake up, and factor in the right amount of sleep for their age. He explained there’s nothing that disrupts anybody’s life, parent or child, more than being sleep deprived. The warning signs of that in children are being fussier and more irritable, not being themselves and not getting things done. The best thing families can do is have a regular schedule of eating, homework for school kids, sleep preparation time and then sleep. He also advises against using sleep aids such as Benadryl and melatonin for kids saying proper sleep hygiene is the best. He says giving kids warm milk at bedtime can’t hurt but there’s nothing magical about milk as it simply helps calm the child’s environment. He feels with the huge efforts over the past year we’re getting closer to a normal routine but warns letting up on the rules now could really cause a setback.
Dana Hawkinson, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at The University of Kansas Health System, noted the numbers around the U.S. and the world are dropping and hopes to see an even bigger improvement in the next two weeks. Since the virus has not become less contagious, he credits better behavior, including more mask wearing and people staying in their bubbles. As for reports of some schools waiting to reopen until all of the teachers are vaccinated, he says it’s a great concept. But he says it’s more important that all wear masks and those in each classroom are spread apart, which has proven successful in many school districts and the University of Kansas. He says it’s important to point out that a lot of the spread in schools has been when the adults are not following the rules of infection prevention. He explained why the flu and RSV are nearly non-existent and COVID-19 is alive and well. He also reassured us that with all of the mask wearing and hand washing we are not weakening our immune systems. He urges us to use a little bit of compassion and thoughtfulness toward each other as we get through this together.
Steve Stites, MD, chief medical officer at The University of Kansas Health system, says the Chiefs’ Super Bowl loss may have limited some of the surge in our area. He also thinks the frigid weather has forced more people indoors and to keep within their bubbles. He says while the weather may delay the weekly vaccine shipment by a day or two, it should not be a problem for those waiting for their second shot to push it back a little. He says one lesson many have learned during the pandemic is it’s OK to stay home when you’re sick instead of being the hero who always shows up no matter what. He notes that COVID-19 has added a lot of stress to our lives, which affects our sleep, and advises us to find whatever works to reduce that stress, especially at bedtime.