Virginia pediatrician overwhelmed by child COVID cases

He begs families to get vaccinated to reduce the number.

WINCHESTER, Va. – A Frederick County pediatrician said his practice has seen a huge increase in the number of COVID cases among children since the schools reopened, and he is concerned about the consequences.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my 22 years in pediatrics,” said Dr. Bryan Kornrich.

dr. Kornreich, who has a pediatric practice in Winchester, said that once schools reopened, they began to see an increase in parents bringing their children in with a fever, respiratory disease, sick with COVID and wanting to test for COVID.

“The phones start ringing as soon as they open at 7:30 am,” the pediatrician said. “My front office staff, who are absolutely wonderful, do their best to get people in to be seen, but every 8:30 or 9:00 AM appointment is booked,” he said. “What I’m really concerned about is there will be kids with COVID or not just regular teething problems that we’re just not going to be able to see.”

He said they are seeing more positive cases now than they were in November 2020 — before the vaccine was available — and estimates that his practice, which he says is on the small side, goes through up to 100 COVID tests a day.

“I’m afraid we won’t have any more COVID tests because now the amount of tests we go through per day it can’t be sustained,” Kornreich said. “And the manufacturer can’t keep up with demand.”

The doctor said they may not have enough tests available in a few weeks.

The Virginia Department of Health also reports that young people are now being hospitalized at a faster rate than they were in the pandemic.

RELATED: Fairfax County parents push for classroom streaming after COVID cases force football team to isolate

Just had a candid – and alarming – conversation with a VA pediatrician.

He says they are seeing more #COVID19 childhood cases now than in November 2020 – when NO #vaccine was available.

His concerns about the possible fallout on @wusa9 at 11. pic.twitter.com/zKBPXW8C9k

— Jess Arnold (@JessArnoldTV) September 11, 2021

dr. Kornreich said the uptick is beginning to take its toll on him and his staff.

“My front office staff are exhausted. My nurses are exhausted. We are exhausted,” he said. “You know, at the end of the day people are in tears. It is a mess. It’s a real mess. And we just keep going… because I think we’re doing good for the community. And we’re doing good for the world, so we’ll just go ahead and stop.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report a few days ago confirming what Dr. Kornreich sees.

Their data shows that in the week ending September 2, children accounted for 26.8% of COVID cases nationally, compared to just 15.1% at the start of the pandemic – a 10% increase.

Kornreich begs the community to help each other – and them – by taking the vaccine.

“If you can, get vaccinated — if you’re 12 or older, get vaccinated,” the doctor said. “Clearly, people who have been vaccinated do not get sick as quickly as people who have not been vaccinated. And if we can reduce the amount of transmission in the community, we can reduce the overwhelming number of people who need medical care and reduce the burden on all nurses and doctors in the area.”

The Virginia Department of Health says that between January 17 and September 4 of this year, unvaccinated people developed COVID-19 at a rate 8.5 times that of fully vaccinated people and 2.4 times that of partially vaccinated people.

dr. Kornreich said there are other ways to reduce the burden, for example if schools could test children who even have a runny nose rather than just full-blown COVID symptoms. He said that would help save those doctor’s appointments for kids who really need to be seen.

At the end of the day, he said this trend is not sustainable and is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated again.

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