LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – As Omicron continues to rip through the state, Arkansas Children’s Hospital is seeing more kids fill hospital beds than ever before.

According to ACH Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Dr. Jessica Snowden, as of Wednesday they had 46 kids in the hospital with COVID-19. That is the highest number since the start of the pandemic.

Dr. Snowden said Omicron is presenting a variety of symptoms which makes it hard for parents to diagnose. She has seen kids with everything from fever, cough, sore throat and body aches to stomach symptoms and even rashes.

“Right now any symptom you have may be Omicron which is really really something that is challenging for all of us I think to get used to,” Snowden said. “It’s harder to put a pin on than what we were seeing earlier in the pandemic.”

That’s why Snowden said it’s important to keep kids home if they feel sick with any kind of symptom. She also advises parents to utilize drive through testing locations and at-home test kits.

While there are more children being hospitalized with the Omicron variant, Dr. Snowden said there is some good news. She is seeing kids recover faster and have shorter hospital stays than with the Delta variant. 

Still, she said there is one way to be sure your child does not end up in the hospital and that is to get vaccinated if they are eligible. 

“The kids we’re seeing here in the hospital are not vaccinated,” Snowden said. “The vaccine works really well so it’s either children that aren’t vaccinated yet or are too young to be vaccinated. That’s the one thing we know we can all do as adults, kids, everybody to help protect everyone in our community.”

Snowden also encouraged parents to have their children wear masks to school if it’s not already required.