‘We could lose a child here’: Pediatricians warn of rising COVID-19 cases in children

GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT) — The latest wave of the delta variant is hitting kids.

The NC Department of Health & Human Services reported that more than 9,600 children tested positive for COVID-19 during the week of August 22. That number is almost equal to the number of children’s cases in all of June and July.

Pediatricians at Maynard Children’s Hospital in Greenville said they are seeing a 300 to 400 percent increase in children who get COVID. They said some children are critically ill and have to rehabilitate for weeks.

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“Some of our sickest kids needed a feeding tube,” says Dr. Matthew Ledoux, chief pediatrician at Maynard Children’s Hospital. “Some needed a more permanent breathing tube and were on ventilators.”

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It should be an exciting time for Pitt County Schools. Students are returning to personal learning for the first time in over a year.

“We are very excited about the students who are in our buildings,” said Jennifer Johnson, spokesperson for Pitt County Schools.

Lecturers are facing a new challenge this year: the delta variant. Currently, Pitt County Schools has 243 active cases and 1,533 students and staff in quarantine.

“Just as there is a high positivity rate in Pitt County itself, we see those cases and see some of that effect in our school system as well,” Johnson said.

Pediatricians across the country are seeing an increase in COVID cases among children. Maynard Children’s Hospital is experiencing the same trends.

“Acute COVID or lung disease in children has been increasing quite dramatically in recent weeks,” said Dr. Ledoux.

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Ledoux said he has not seen any deaths in East North Carolina so far. He warns that it is not ruled out.

“In our current trajectory, the children are so sick that there is a high probability that we could lose a child here in East North Carolina,” he said.

Many districts, such as PCS, require masks. School leaders are also asking for the help of parents to slow the spread.

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“This is just a time in our lives, in our school system, where we just can’t send students to school with those symptoms,” Johnson said.

Ledoux said you can do something to help too.

“We’re pushing for vaccines for everyone because it won’t just help protect you,” he said. “It will help keep your family, the community and East North Carolina safe.”

PCS has a live COVID dashboard. Nurses across the district are entering information in real time and updating COVID numbers throughout the day. Click here to view the dashboard.

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