Dr. Perno says every week he’s seeing the number of child hospitalizations go down.By Casey Albritton

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – We are hearing from experts at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital about how many children are hospitalized at this point in the pandemic, and how doctors are holding up after almost two years of COVID-19.

Chief Medical Officer at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Joseph Perno, says “I’m a little more optimistic now than I was previously. We are seeing a decline and decrease in the number of kids presenting to the emergency room with COVID-19 symptoms, the number testing positive, a decreased number of hospitalizations and a decreased number of kids needing intensive care unit.”

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Perno says every week, he’s seeing the number of child hospitalizations go down.

“Right now we only have one patient in the hospital with COVID-19, and we’ve had probably between one and three for the last maybe two weeks,” said Perno.

He says as COVID-19 cases decline in children, the hospital can now focus more on other illnesses.

“We are cautiously optimistic, that maybe we are past the delta surge, and we are starting to see more fall and wintertime respiratory illnesses primarily,” said Perno.

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He says even though COVID-19 cases are decreasing, hospitals are still overwhelmed.

“Workers, physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, lab staff, everyone, are fatigued. It’s been a long haul. How we go about our daily business has changed probably for good,” said Perno.

Perno says hospital staff are not getting their hopes up, as another surge could happen at any point, which is why he’s encouraging everyone to get the vaccine.

“It’s still out there and we know it’s going to find the people who are unvaccinated, and those are the ones who are going to end up in the hospital and that’s what we are trying to avoid,” said Perno.

He says children should get vaccinated as soon as they can, and right now hospital employees are just hoping there’s a light at the end of the tunnel soon.

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“We’re prepared for the worst, hoping for the best,” said Perno.