While children have been largely statistically unscathed by COVID-19, doctors are concerned that fear of the virus may be keeping parents from seeking medical help for kids with other illnesses.

Pediatricians across the country have noticed a drastic drop in emergency room visits, and some hospitals report that those who do come have more advanced symptoms than normal.

“They’re needing much more resuscitation and care than they should,” said Dr. Kevin Chan, chair of the Canadian Paediatric Society’s acute care committee.

He practices at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where visits to the ER dropped by about two-thirds since the pandemic began..

“I personally have seen some very sick diabetics,” he said.

The same situation has played out at CHEO, the children’s hospital in Ottawa, where there has been a 70 per cent drop in new cases of diabetes in the last 30 days. Those that do show up at the emergency room are sicker than doctors there typically see.

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Childhood cancer patients at CHEO are also only coming in to be seen and treated after they’ve experienced symptoms for longer than usual,