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AZ Healthcare Chain Notes Rise In Pediatric COVID-19 Hospitalizations

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Arizona’s largest hospital conglomerate is marking a rise in pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations. 

According to Banner Health Chief Clinical Officer Marjorie Bessel, 71 children in July were admitted to hospitals to be treated for the virus. 

Bessel told reporters last week the rate for pediatric hospitalizations doubled in July compared to the previous month. For children, she added, the probability of requiring intensive care remained “low.”

“This does not mean that the virus cannot have a serious impact on children,” Bessel said.

On Saturday, the U.S. hit a record high rate for pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations with more than 1,900 patients, according to Reuters

Bessel’s announcement comes as Arizona schools navigate between a state law banning mask mandates in school and CDC guidelines urging individuals to mask up in school facilities. 

The Flagstaff Unified and Phoenix Union districts have rolled out mask mandates in spite of the law; FUSD’s school governing board cited high community transmission in its decision. President Joe Biden on Saturday applauded Phoenix Union for requiring masks. 

The Arizona Education Association announced last week it had filed a lawsuit against a state law barring mask mandates in schools. The AEA called the law “unconstitutional.”

“Their actions are reckless and abusive,” AEA President Joe Thomas said of Gov. Doug Ducey and the legislature in a statement.

Ducey’s spokesperson, C.J. Karamargin, told the Associated Press late last week, “We are confident the legislation we signed is completely constitutional.”