MEMPHIS, Tenn. — COVID cases are going down nationwide, but there is one concerning number going up.
The CDC says more kids are getting sick with the virus and are ending up in the hospital.
Locally, the Shelby County Health Department said over the past two weeks, more than half of new COVID cases have come from people younger than 35, and of that, a quarter have come from children.
While we’re not seeing a surge of pediatric cases locally, doctors said it could happen if more people don’t get vaccinated.
“Just one new case of a severely ill child is too many in this pandemic,” chief of pediatric diseases at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital Dr. Sandy Arnold said.”Three times as many children have been hospitalized with COVID during this pandemic than are typically hospitalized during a flu season.”
Arnold has been keeping a close eye on the number of pediatric cases and hospitalizations in Shelby County.
”Luckily, we are not seeing any surge of pediatric cases here yet,” she said. “However, we are concerned with people wearing masks less and less frequently, we might be in for that in the next few weeks.”
Director for the pediatric ICU at Baptist Women’s and Children’s Hospital Dr. Jennifer Snow said Shelby County is already seeing a slight increase.
”Especially in April and March, we were seeing a slight increase in our hospitalization rate of kids testing positive with COVID,” she said.
The numbers are renewing the push to get eligible children 12 to 17 years old vaccinated.
”Although kids are not usually as affected as adults, they can still get very sick and require intensive care and have complications due to infection,” Snow said.
The new report from the CDC documented more than 200 12 to 17 year olds across 14 states hospitalized due to COVID. Of that number, 31 percent were admitted to the ICU and five percent needed a ventilator.
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