(WGHP) — Nearly one month after the start of the school year, Triad health systems and county health departments report a significant increase in the number of pediatric COVID-19 cases.
Forsyth County reports 29% of the cases confirmed last week are among children under 17, up from 20% the week of Aug. 22.
“We’re seeing a lot more emergency room visits, we’re seeing a lot more admissions, we still have a fair number of admissions to our floor and our pediatric intensive care unit, that are the 12 and above,” said Dr. L. Eugene Daugherty, medical director of Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital.
Novant Health reports more infections and transmission among patients younger than 12 who cannot be vaccinated.
“When you have over 25% of cases are now pediatric, we are definitely seeing those numbers rise, we expect in the next few weeks probably for those numbers to continue to increase,” Daugherty said.
A spokesperson for Cone Health said pediatricians are seeing many COVID-19 patients, about four to five children ended up being hospitalized.
“[It’s] very frustrating to see a child suffer,” Winston-Salem mother Keisha Edwards said.
Her 6-year-old didn’t have any symptoms after a recent diagnosis, her 13-year-old experienced a headache and fever for about five days.
Edwards said she knows it could have been worse.
“I thank God that, it could have been the other way around but he saw fit, I’m very, very grateful,” she said.
Daugherty said some pediatric ICUs and hospitals are at capacity, limiting what the system can do.
“We’re seeing co-infections so we’re seeing COVID, we’re seeing other infections such as RSV that are really, really prominent right now,” he said.
Edwards plans to get her kids vaccinated. In the meantime, she’s nervous about sending her kids back to school.
“I’ve got to send my child to school not knowing if she’s going to come home sick and bring it back to me, or back to my fiancé, you just don’t know so it’s very, very concerning,” she said.
Daugherty said fatalities among pediatric COVID patients are low nationally.