MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Myrtle Beach area hospitals are reporting a large increase in outpatient COVID-19 cases in kids.
Dr. Lucretia Carter, the Pediatric Medical Doctor for Tidelands Health said that although these children aren’t needing to be hospitalized due to COVID-19, it’s still important to be aware of the cases rising.
“This delta variant is highly infective and transmissible, so we’re seeing a lot more kids that are becoming infected, especially if they have household contacts or even classroom contacts who have been identified as being positive,” Carter said.
Carter and Dr. Brannon Traxler, the director of public health for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) said the rise is partially due to kids going back to school. As of Thursday evening, there are 857 student COVID-19 cases in the state.
“They’re vulnerable,” Traxler said. “School children are most susceptible to disease spread for two main reasons. First is children’s immune systems are not fully developed and disease activity thrives when groups of people are together in indoor settings like schools or childcare centers.”
Carter said as soon as masks started coming off is when there were a lot more cases.
Conway Medical Center said so far in August, 196 patients under 18 have tested positive for COVID-19. Last month, that number was 32, and in June, it was nine.
Tidelands Health and Grand Strand Medical Center said they don’t have that data, but can confirmed they’ve diagnosed many outpatient cases. DHEC announced Wednesday that they’re asking hospitals to make sure to report complete and accurate pediatric COVID-19 patient information because it will begin publishing the data on its website next week.
“We need as many people as possible to get vaccinated because it doesn’t just protect you, it helps protect our children under the age of 12 who cant’ get the vaccine yet,” Traxler said.
Carter said those who can’t get vaccinated should maintain social distancing and practicing good hygiene. She said wearing a mask is still the best way to slow the spread of the virus.
Traxler said based on the state’s current trends, she worries what they’ll see in the fall when cooler weather arrives and more people are indoors. Traxler is urging people to get vaccinated now.