Pediatric COVID cases and other illnesses on the rise in the east

GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) — We are about two weeks into another pandemic school year and children’s hospitals across the country are seeing an increase in the number of children being hospitalized for COVID-19.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that about 204,000 new childhood cases were reported last week, bringing the level of child cases in the second week to match that of the 2020-21 winter wave.

Since most school districts here in the east are mandating masks to prevent the spread, we talked to Greenville Pediatric Services about what they’re seeing.

The practice has three offices and the largest in Greenville became the “sick child only” office due to the number they see.

They say they see more than double the number of sick children and not all of them have COVID, but a majority of these visits result in COVID testing.

An employee calls an average of 70 to 80 times a day to pass on someone’s test results. They see more than 120 children a day in the office.

Katherine Beavers, Greenville Pediatric Services says, “Yes, the staff is exhausted, as are the caregivers. Everyone works on their days off, everyone works longer days. When you see so many children, some of the staff comes in at 8am, they don’t leave until 7 o’clock in the evening. Long days. They are exhausted. It’s tough, but you know, we do exactly the same as hospitals.”

Not every visit is COVID related. Beavers says the top three they see are also RSV, a respiratory virus, and strep throat.

Beavers says it’s a combination of both going back to school in person and the rise of the Delta variant that is making many kids sick.

Children under 12 are not yet eligible for the vaccine, so Beavers says it’s important for adults to get vaccinated to prevent spread.

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