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Background: Following the initial COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown of 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant spread and peaked through the United States December 2021 to February 2022 (CDC, 2023). Hospitalization rates for children, particularly infants to 4 years, peaked during January 2022 with rates higher than in the initial outbreak in 2020 (CDC, 2023). The objective/aim of this study was to determine the rate of SARS-CoV-2 infections in subjects enrolled in a surveillance project in the Emergency Department (ED), Inpatient (IP), and Clinic during Jan 2022 to Dec 2022.

Methods: Patients 18 years and younger with respiratory illness symptoms were enrolled in the CDC’s New Vaccine Surveillance Network (NVSN) study. Respiratory samples, either a mid-turbinate nasal swab collected by enrollers or nasopharyngeal swab collected by clinical providers for standard of care testing (SOC). Each research specimen underwent an EasyMag extraction. Samples from any subject who did not have a standard of care COVID-19 result were tested by Hologic Panther or underwent PCR testing to retrieve the Ct value. All COVID-19 positive specimens without a Ct value also underwent PCR testing to determine the viral load. Demographics, location, monthly distribution were recorded for SARS-CoV-2 positive patients to better understand the epidemiology.

Results: In 2022, the total specimens included in this study was 2,178 with 169 COVID-19 positives for an 8% positivity rate for the year. A higher prevalence of COVID-19 was seen in January with a 38% positivity rate [65/172], Table 1. Most COVID-19 positive cases were seen in age groups 0-1 year and 2-4 years with 40% and 20% respectively, with higher percentage of infections seen in females [51%, 86/169]. The three most common symptoms experienced of COVID-19 positive patients were fever [104/169], cough [99/169], and nasal congestion [50/169]. There were noticeably higher rates in the summertime during July [14/111] and August [25/163].

Conclusion: The continuous surveillance and data analysis of COVID-19 cases at CMH equips Kansas City communities and healthcare systems to deal with a future spike in cases. Our monitoring enables the CDC to receive information regarding COVID-19 cases in the Kansas City area in addition to the data they receive from other collaborating children’s hospitals across the country.

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Prevalence of COVID-19 Infections in Kansas City Children Enrolled in the New Vaccine Surveillance Network