"On Friday, the health department released a communication to health workers, principally pediatricians, called a 'health alert,'" said Bassett. "It pointed out that we'd observed an uptick in pediatric admissions concentrated in the New York City area, where there was an increase of about four fold."
The numbers still don't point to an "epidemic" of the virus among children, Bassett said. The statistics, according to her, include children who tested positive before entering the hospital and some after they were already admitted.
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From Dec. 5-11, there were 70 new pediatric hospitalizations statewide, including 22 in the city.
From Dec. 12-18, there were 104 new pediatric hospitalizations statewide, including 43 in the city.
From Dec. 19-23, the state recorded 184 new pediatric hospitalizations, including 109 in the city.
As of Dec. 24, none of the children ages 5-11 who were hospitalized were vaccinated, Bassett said.
Watch: Gov. Kathy Hochul, Dr. Mary Bassett Discuss Pediatric COVID Uptick
"Our vaccination rates among 5-to-11-year-olds remain disappointingly low," she said. "It's clear that vaccination really reduces the chance of severe illness. Boosting, if you're eligible for it, really adds to that."
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Only 16% of 5-11-year-olds in the state have been vaccinated, Hochul said.
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"The numbers that we gave on pediatric admissions weren't intended to make it seem that children were having an epidemic of infection," Bassett added. "It really was to motivate pediatricians and families to seek the protection of vaccination."
Gov. Hochul said her administration is encouraging the FDA to approve the COVID vaccine for children under 5 years old.
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