Children as young as 11-days contracting coronavirus - KATH reveals

KATH is only pediatric referral facility in the northern sector of the country KATH is only pediatric referral facility in the northern sector of the country

An alert has been issued by doctors at the KATH following news that it can no longer receive new patients after news of nine children at the facility in the last 10 days have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which authorities have announced has developed a new strain.

The youngest among the children, according to Head of the Child Health Directorate at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Prof. Sampson Antwi, is an 11-day-old baby.

The oldest among them is reported to be 14 years.

This upsurge in the COVID-19 situation in the region is taking a toll on the facility as management struggles to access space for children diagnosed with the virus, as well as other sicknesses, he added.

"We are having a huge surge in COVID positive cases and the disease initially, children were said to be spared. We had 14 the whole of last year but this year, just the spate of 10-days, we got 9 positive cases," he told JoyNews.

KATH is the only pediatric referral facility in the northern sector of the country and already, management says the hospital is overstretched and in dire need of space.

"The COVID strain that we are having now is really also affecting children seriously. If in less than 2-weeks we are getting 9 cases, we don't know where we are going to go when we are already full," says Prof Antwi.

He, therefore, stated that it would be difficult to receive any more new cases brought to the facility as there is no space for any such admissions.

"We are not in the position even to bring new cases. I don't mean COVID. Anybody who is sick when you come here, we will just triage you in front [of the hospital] probably in an ambulance that you came in with.

"If there's something that we need to do for you, we can do to stabilize you and send you back because our wards are full," he explained.

However, he added that there are ongoing talks with the Regional Health Directorate to create a treatment center for children with COVID-19.

"We are exploring the possibility of getting a treatment center for children [with COVID]. We are in talks with the Medical Director. They have actually had discussions with the Regional Health Directorate to see if they can create space for stable children."

Prof. Baafuor Kofi Opoku, Medical Director of KATH, revealed that out of 504 samples taken, 251, representing 49.8 percent returned positive, covering the period of late 2020 till January 26, 2021.