DETROIT (WXYZ) — Physicians at DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit have noticed a significant increase in the number of children diagnosed with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, according to Dr. Christopher Blunden, a pediatric endocrinologist.
In 2019, there were 127 new-onset diabetes diagnoses. In 2020, there were 168 cases. And in 2021, Dr. Blunden said they had 212, which is about a 67-percent increase in two years.
Blunden said the increase supports a new CDC study that showed children who recover from COVID-19 are at a much higher risk of developing type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
"This virus can go in and actually attack what are called beta cells, which are the cells in your body that produce insulin directly, and cause them to essentially die off," Dr. Blunden told 7 Action News Tuesday.
In Ann Arbor, at the University of Michigan Health, which includes C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, Dr. Erika Newman, a pediatric surgeon, said the current COVID surge, being run by the omicron variant, is resulting in more children being hospitalized.
"We have never seen this many children hospitalized with COVID-19," said Dr. Newman. "We're seeing younger kids and teens with COVID-related respiratory illnesses, pneumonia, and a serious COVID-related complication."
Dr. Newman referring to multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C).
U-M Health says the current surge in COVID cases in adults and children along with a staffing shortage are impacting every aspect of clinical care.
Effective Wednesday, U-M Health is implementing a two-week pause on visitors to their adult hospitals.
"We're doing this because the Omicron variant is so easily transmissible. And because so many people are asymptomatic," said Dr. David Miller, President of U-M Health. "People visiting their loved ones may, unknowingly, be passing on the virus."
Since the start of the new year, 739 U-M Health employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
Dr. Miller adds that 250 surgeries have also been canceled since this latest surge began in December because the beds were needed for adults and children with COVID. He said most of their COVID cases involve those who are not vaccinated.
Physicians are urging people to get vaccinated and boosted. Parents are also urged to get their children vaccinated if they are old enough to receive the vaccine.