PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Pediatric case numbers and hospitalizations are not going in the right direction, as numbers continue to climb across the commonwealth and Hampton Roads.
Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters Pediatric Infectious Disease Dr. Laura Sass says the number of patients admitted for COVID-19 in September has already surpassed the number of patients from all of August.
“In August, we had 38 children admitted to the hospital for the entire month. We’ve had 35 already in the month of September,” she said.
Doctors say they’re continuing to see a surge first witnessed at the end of July.
Roughly two-thirds of patients are admitted for COVID-19 treatments.
“Over the past couple weeks, we’ve had more infants get admitted for COVID,” said Sass. “Some only need to stay a day. Some only need to stay a few days and then they go home, but we’ve actually seen a need in our increase for admission to the hospital.”
Even though mortality rates remain low in children, Acting District Health Director Dr. Parham Jaberi of the Norfolk Department of Public Health said stopping the spread is what matters most.
Jaberi said children make up approximately a quarter of COVID-19 cases. She said it’s not necessarily surprising, due to children returning back to school and regular activities, as well as the continued spread of the virus among the unvaccinated population.
“We’re not only concerned just about their health. We’re concerned about them taking that illness potentially to their homes, to their grandparents, to others around them who may be immunocompromised,” he said.
With most kids already back in the classroom, health officials say it’s important for parents to be vigilant to keep kids safe.
“I’ve heard all too often, especially now as we’re getting into allergy season, people chalking it up, ‘It’s just a runny nose.’ I just think people need to be a little bit more judicious, a little bit more cautious, before assuming it’s just a common cold or a runny nose,” said Jaberi.
They say the key lies in not overlooking symptoms that could be mistaken for a cold or allergies.
“The pandemic has taught us going to school sick is not acceptable,” said Sass. “Just like going to work sick is no longer acceptable and keeping your child home, making sure that they have that mask on.”