MANILA (UPDATE) - Majority of children recover from COVID-19 even if they become severely or critically ill, the Philippine General Hospital's spokesman said Sunday.
The country's largest COVID-19 referral center has 8 virus patients occupying its 12-bed pedia ward, with 4 more patients waiting to be admitted, according to Dr. Jonas del Rosario.
The patients' ages range from a few days old up to 15 years old, he said.
"Ang maganda naman po, kahit nagiging severe o critical ang mga bata, majority po talagang nakaka-recover. It might take a longer time," he ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(The good news is even if children become severe or critical, majority of them recover.)
One of the parents are allowed to stay with their child at the ICU, he said.
The PGH has a 6 percent mortality rate for child virus patients, he added.
Children who succumb to COVID-19 normally have comorbidities, including those with heart diseases, said Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, pediatric infectious disease specialist at PGH.
Around "10 percent" of the country's 1,727,231 total infections are in the 0-19 age group, added Lim, who also serves as a member of the Department of Health technical advisory group.
"Napapansin na dumadami 'yung reports na sumasakop dun sa age group na 0-19. We have to understand ito po ay nasa konteksto na lahat naman ng age groups ay dumadami ang bilang," she said.
(We've observed that there's an increase in infections in the age group of 0-19. We have to understand that this in the context that cases in all age groups are rising.)
"I think people need to understand na kahit anong age group, pwedeng mahawahan dahil dumadami ang kaso sa isang community, natural na ang mag bata masasakop."
("I think people need to understand that no matter what age group can be infected. As cases rise in a community, children will also be affected.)
Parents are urged to follow minimum health standards outdoors such as proper wearing of face masks and face shield, observance of physical distancing, less than 15-minute interactions with people, and proper air circulation in a venue, Lim said.
They must also wash their hands once they return home to avoid spreading the virus to their children and other vulnerable members of the family, Lim added.
"Although sinasabi natin karamihan (ng mga bata ay) mild at symptomatic, meron din naman talagang nagkakaroon ng mas matinding sakit. Karaniwan sa kanila may iba pang dalang sakit o may comorbidity," she said.
(Although we say majority of children are mild and symptomatic, there are those with more severe illness. It is usually those with comorbidity.)
Meanwhile, the adult intensive care unit in PGH with 40 beds is full, according to Del Rosario. Some 90 percent of patients occupying the ICU are unvaccinated, he noted.
Around 70 percent of the hospital's total virus patients have not received a COVID-19 jab, he added.
"Ang isang napansin namin, maliban sa vaccination status, talagang malaking bagay ang comorbidity mo tsaka yung age," he said.
(What we've observed is aside from vaccination status, a person's comorbidity and age affect the severity of their illness.)
The PGH has a 16 percent mortality rate for COVID patients as it receives severe to critical cases as an end-referral hospital, according to Del Rosario. It has a daily average of 3 to 4 deaths over the last 7 days, he said.
The Philippines on Saturday logged 14,249 more COVID-19 infections, the second highest single-day tally since the start of the pandemic.
Of the total infections, 98,847 or 5.7 percent are active while 30,070 were deaths. Authorities have confirmed the detection of the highly transmissible Delta variant.