Pediatric COVID-19 cases increase but local health officials urge parents not to panic

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The delta variant continues to spread and officials are saying they’re seeing more pediatric cases than ever before.

Piedmont Columbus Regional’s Chief of Pediatrics Doctor Rebecca Reamy said they’re seeing a huge increase of pediatric COVID-19 cases, but parents should remain calm.

“We’ve absolutely seen a huge increase in the numbers early on we were seeing very few children and I think part of what happened is people got more relaxed with social distancing and wearing their masks,” said Dr. Reamy. “And so because of that, because of our behaviors, our numbers have increased and certainly the delta variant has made that worse because it’s so much more contagious than the alpha variant that we saw before.”

With how full the hospitals have been during this surge Dr. Reamy said it’s important that parents only take their children to the emergency department if it’s absolutely necessary.

“Most of the kids with COVID are not seriously ill but their families are understandably frightened and some of them are seeking testing, which is certainly not a reason to come to an emergency department,” said Dr. Reamy. “But for those children who are experiencing severe symptoms of shortness of breath, or changes in their mental status those are the kids we need to see.”

Dr. Reamy says parents should make sure their children and themselves are continuing to social distance, wear a mask and take other precautions to keep their children safe including children 12 years and older getting vaccinated.

“The most effective thing that we can do for our children that are 12 and older is to get them vaccinated,” said Dr. Reamy. “We strongly encourage everyone that’s 12 and over to be vaccinated cause that definitely decreases the risk not only of serious illness but of contracting the illness at all.”

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