Serious effects still ‘very rare’, but seeing more sick children – and parents seeking vaccines
(Update: Add Video, Pediatrician Comments)
REDMOND, Oregon (KTVZ) — Positive COVID-19 test results and illnesses are on the rise in children.
Brenna Lewis, a pediatrician at Mosaic Medical, said Friday there has been a 1,500% increase in positive pediatric COVID-19 tests.
“I think the increase in cases is really scary,” Lewis said. “It’s definitely different from what we’ve seen before during the pandemic with children.”
Although it is the same virus, the delta variant causes a new set of problems for children.
“We’ve definitely seen more kids in clinics who are sick, more kids who are exposed,” Lewis said.
Lewis works in clinics in Bend and Redmond and said she is seeing more positive Covid cases than before, with more serious health problems.
“And not just respiratory symptoms — we also see GI (gastrointestinal) symptoms, and kids feel really sore and just feel uncomfortable about it,” Lewis said.
She said that although it is unusual, they are sending more children to the hospital than before the delta variant.
“It’s rare for children to have serious side effects from Covid, but it’s very real when it happens,” Lewis said. “In particular, we’re monitoring myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart, and I know there’s a lot of concern about that with regard to vaccines, but the rates are much lower from vaccination than from Covid.”
St. Charles currently has no pediatric COVID-19 patients, but has had 33 since the start of the pandemic.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, Deschutes County has a pediatric case rate of 306 per 100,000 people, Crook County a rate of 322, and Jefferson County a rate of 357.2.
Statewide, pediatric cases are increasing in all age groups, including those 0-5, at a rate of 179.6 per 100,000.
Lewis said that in addition to the increase in pediatric cases, there is also an increase in families requesting and even registering to get a vaccine.
“I’ve had a lot of families who were very hesitant, understandable and nervous at first about the vaccine coming back and asking additional questions and eventually getting it, really especially in the last two weeks,” Lewis said.
Lewis said the best way to protect children who are too young to be vaccinated is to make sure the caregivers and the people around them are there.
“I think a really difficult part for myself and my colleagues is often seeing cases that we know can be prevented, especially if a child gets sick from an unvaccinated parent,” Lewis said.
Lewis said she is concerned there could be another spike in cases when school starts.
She said she fears students will have to miss school to be tested because they are in quarantine or because they are sick with Covid.