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Colorado Springs toddler recovering after COVID-19 hospitalization

2-year old Cecelia Pittman spent nearly a week in the hospital fighting COVID-19. Now her mom has a message for other families.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Cecelia Pittman’s symptoms started about two weeks ago. Soon, the Colorado Springs toddler started feeling worse and worse.

“Just started with a mild cough,” said her mother, Tiffany Pittman. “The next day she developed into a fever and that’s when we decided to get her tested for COVID and she tested positive.”

Once Cecelia started to have difficulty breathing, her parents brought her to Children’s Hospital Colorado in Colorado Springs, where she spent five days. Her treatment included supplemental oxygen and medications.

“She’s normally very vibrant and fun and plays, and she barely left her bed the whole time we were there,” Cecelia’s mother said. “Which was hard to see. Yeah, difficult.”

Thursday morning Gov. Polis said, among the 501 people currently hospitalized with COVID19 in Colorado, 17 of them are 19 years old or younger. Seven of them are ages 10 and younger.

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Doctors are noticing a trend that makes them nervous for what could happen in the coming weeks. More children are being admitted to the hospital with not just COVID infections, but various other respiratory illnesses.

“This is the first time we’ve had respiratory season really in August, and so all of these things are coalescing at the same time,” said Dr. Chris Nyquist, Chief Safety and Epidemiology Officer at Children’s Hospital Colorado (in Aurora).

“The delta variant is circulating mostly in unvaccinated people. Eighty percent of our children at Children’s Hospital are unable to be vaccinated. They can’t get a vaccine based on their age, or they may not respond to the vaccine because of their underlying illness.”

She added, “Our top priority is how do we protect the children that we care for in this seven-state region, in this Denver metro area.”

On Thursday, Children’s announced a new vaccine mandate for staff members.

The hospital described the number of COVID-19 admissions right now as “moderate,” counting 10 children hospitalized currently. At the peak of the pandemic, Children’s saw about 20.

“And right now, we’re at that middle level which, will it go up or will it go down?” Dr. Nyquist said. “And that really depends on what we do in our area.”

Credit: Tiffany Pittman

Cecelia Pittman, the toddler in Colorado Springs, is now back home recovering. Her parents were both vaccinated, and grateful they got to be with their daughter at the hospital during her treatment – rather fighting the illness themselves. Both tested negative for COVID-19, her mother said.

She has a little brother who is seven months old. He was isolated from his sister during her illness and is also doing OK.

“I wanted to share our story in the hopes that another family wouldn’t have to go through what we did,” said Tiffany Pittman.

“Our young children can’t get vaccinated so the best way for us to protect them is for us adults to get vaccinated. I think a lot of folks believe young children don’t get severely ill with COVID. And luckily most don’t. It is very rare, but it can still happen. So I thought I was just important to share that story.”

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