A baby born 12 days ago with COVID-19 is now at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, which is part of Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Hospital, in Denver.
The story was first reported by CBS4 on Thursday.
While the potential for COVID-19 infections in newborns is low — one study pegs chances at 0.6% — the American Academy of Pediatrics was sufficiently concerned that it has issued guidelines on how to work with mothers and newborns with COVID-19. The guidance from the Academy estimated 2% of newborns born to COVID-19 positive mothers are also born with the virus.
The Academy also said in its guidance that there are no published reports of a newborn dying during initial birth hospitalization from COVID-19.
London’s The Daily Mail reported recently that out of 118,000 babies born in March and April, 66 were born with the virus.
Of those 66, 28 were classified “as severely ill and suffered a high temperature, breathing problems, or bouts of coughing or vomiting. Four needed to be admitted to an ICU and three needed a ventilator."
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, in Colorado, only 4% of COVID-19 cases are between 0-9 years of age, and across the US, only 1.7% of all cases are between the ages of 0 and 4 years.
The CDPHE cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to newborns is thought to occur primarily through respiratory droplets during the postnatal period when neonates are exposed to mothers or other caregivers with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Current evidence suggests, the CDC said, that SARS-CoV-2 infections in newborns are uncommon. If neonates do become infected, the majority have either asymptomatic infections or mild disease (i.e., do not require respiratory support), and they recover. Severe illness in neonates, including illness requiring mechanical ventilation, has been reported but appears to be rare. Neonates with underlying medical conditions and preterm infants (less than 37 weeks gestational age) may be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Additionally, CDC guidelines suggest all babies born to COVID-19 positive moms be tested for the virus.
Nine of the 16 counties on Colorado’s Eastern Plains have been moved to “orange,” or high risk, levels by CDPHE. Those counties must now implement mitigation efforts to slow the spread of the virus. An orange level on the CDPHE’s dial dashboard indicates at least 350 cases per 100,000 population and a positivity rate of up to 15%.
Hospital data posted Thursday by CDPHE show that 1,322 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. The virus is stretching ICU bed capacity, with 85% of the ICU beds at the state’s 92 hospitals in use (although not all ICU beds are being used by COVID-19 patients).
Just under 3% of those hospitalized are under the age of 19 and about 1% of those are between birth and age nine.
In some county hospitals, ICU beds are full. The San Luis Valley, for example, has a total of eight ICU beds available among its three hospitals: Rio Grande, in Del Norte; and the San Luis Valley health facilities in Costilla and Alamosa counties. Seven of those ICU beds are now occupied, based on CDPHE data.
The state has 146 pediatric ventilators available; Thursday’s data shows that 30 are in use.
One in four of the state’s 92 hospitals anticipate staff shortages in the next week.