In total, nine children are in the ICU after being infected with the virus, according to state officials.

By Katie Campione
July 14, 2021
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Severe COVID-19 cases are on the rise among children in Mississippi.

There are currently seven children in intensive care units, with two on a ventilator, due to a surge in cases of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, state health official Dr. Thomas Dobbs wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.

Dobbs initially reported that 12 children were in the ICU due to COVID-19, but later revised the number after a correction from a hospital.

"Please be safe and if you are 12 or older - please protect yourself," Dobbs added in his tweet.

On Tuesday, the Mississippi Department of Health reported that over one million residents, or about 47% of the total population, had been fully vaccinated. However, just 6% of eligible 12- to 15-year-olds had received both doses.

Dobbs did not specify the ages of the children. Children under 12 years old are still not eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

Dobbs tweeted Monday that "Pretty much ALL" reported cases of COVID-19 in the state are the Delta variant. He added that a "vast majority" of those being hospitalized or dying are unvaccinated.

As of July 2, Mississippi was last in the CDC's national ranking of fully vaccinated populations among all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

"The unfortunate thing, we know, is that a number of these – both hospitalizations and the deaths we are seeing – are preventable," Dr. Alan Jones, associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, told WAPT.

UMMC is treating four pediatric COVID-19 patients, and two of them are on ventilators, the news station reports.

"We have had more pediatric admissions than we had early in the pandemic," Jones said, adding: "What we are doing to get ready for it is operationalizing the plan that we have fine-tuned over the recent months to make sure we are ready for the large increases in hospitalizations."

Due to the surge in cases, state health officials have been urging all those 12 and older to make sure they receive both doses of the vaccine and continue to wear a mask indoors until they have done so.

Anyone in Mississippi who is 65 years or older and those who have chronic medical conditions are encouraged to avoid indoor gatherings regardless of vaccination status, Dobbs said.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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This story originally appeared on people.com