A baby and a child aged under 10 have been placed on ventilators in a Sydney intensive care unit as the number of Covid-infected children in NSW climbs to 2000.
The infant is believed to be one of the youngest children with Covid ever treated in an ICU in Australia.
The child is among 173 patients now in intensive care in NSW. There are 863 Covid patients in NSW hospitals.
News.com.au has confirmed that for the first time three children are among those being cared for in NSW ICUs.
Another child aged under 12 is being treated with a hi-flow CPAP machine, which is a mask that increases pressure in the airways and can help patients to inhale and exhale.
Importantly, all three children have underlying health conditions.
In a statement, the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network (SCHN) confirmed it was currently caring for three Covid-positive children in intensive care. It would not provide information on whether any of the children were on ventilators.
However, health workers familiar with the three cases have confirmed to news.com.au that two children are now on ventilators and urged the NSW Government to provide more daily information on the number of children in ICU and how many are on ventilators.
"These children have underlying health conditions, but are in intensive care due to Covid-19," a spokeswoman said.
"SCHN is currently supporting more than 2000 children with Covid-19, including the three children who are currently receiving intensive care, through the delivery of a range of dedicated services.
"These include the 24/7 health service, VirtualKids which is providing healthcare virtually and in person to children who have tested positive for Covid-19 but are well enough to be cared for at home, a 'Home in Hospital' service to care for children whose parents or carers have been hospitalised with Covid-19 and who may also be Covid-positive themselves, and inpatient services for Covid positive children and young people who require hospitalisation.
"Globally, children under 12 are not yet eligible for Covid-19 vaccines, so the best way to safeguard them as much as possible is for the community to have high vaccination coverage."
Just days ago, Australia's chief medical officer Paul Kelly moved to reassure parents that of the 4000 children that have contracted Covid since the beginning of the pandemic, only three have needed ICU treatment.
Two of the children who are now on ventilators in NSW were only placed on ventilators over the 72 hours.
"The disease in children is very different from what we're seeing in adults," Professor Kelly said.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk sparked fierce national debate last week after claiming that "every child is at risk" if borders are opened too early. But there is currently no vaccine for kids aged under 12.
The vaccination of children aged over 12 will commence in Australia in mid-September.