(WDTN) — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky held a rare, solo media briefing Friday, January 7, 2022. Her biggest concern was the rise in hospitalizations among children.

“While children still have the lowest rate of hospitalization of any group, pediatric hospitalizations are at the highest rate compared to any prior point in the pandemic,” Dr. Walensky said.

That is true in Ohio. In January so far, there were 10,480 hospitalizations among kids ages zero to 18. According to Dr. Adam Mezoff, chief medical officer for Dayton Children’s Hospital, on Dec. 27, 2021, there were four patients in the hospital with COVID-19. In this first week of January, that went up to 19 to 24 patients.

Dr. Mezoff said the omicron variant seems to be more severe in children.

“During the delta surges, we’ve never had this many patients in the hospital. At least two of our patients are in our intensive care unit on ventilators. So it can be quite severe. Children typically aren’t severe, but in this circumstance, we are seeing a lot of significant illness,” Dr. Mezoff said.

Because of this growing trend, Dr. Walensky is urging everyone to get vaccinated to keep children safe during the most recent rise in cases.

“For our youngest children, those who are not yet eligible for vaccinations, it is critically important that we surround them with people who are vaccinated to provide them with protection,” Dr. Walensky said.

Dr. Mezoff echoed that call to action. He said to this day, Dayton Children’s has not admitted any vaccinated children.

“This has to be a community effort to help with this. It’s not a this hospital or that hospital, and it’s not just a me or you, it’s as a community. We have to do the things we have to do to get through this,” Dr. Mezoff said.

Dr. Mezoff added Dayton Children’s will begin to offer booster shots for children 12 and up. He said those should be rolling out within the next few weeks.