CHKD Reports COVID Cases Are Back To January Peak
As the Delta Variant leads to a surge of coronavirus cases in Virginia, health officials are also reporting a higher number of COVID-19 infections among children.
"I was very optimistic in June when we only had about 125 positive test results," said Dr. Laura Sass, a Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at The Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters. "And then at the end of July we started seeing more every day."
Dr. Sass said the CHKD Health System is recording 40 to 60 new positive cases every day. The total for the month of August is up to more than 600 cases, with an age range of 5 days old to early 20 year-olds.
CHKD saw a peak number of 1,216 positive cases in January.
Dr. Sass said the majority of children who tested positive are at home.
CHKD currently has seven patients hospitalized with COVID-19, with a total of 18 during the month of August. The peak was 23 in January.
According to the Virginia Department of Health dashboard, nine people under the age of 19 have died from COVID-19 in Virginia since the start of the pandemic.
Earlier in August, a Norfolk teen died of complications from the coronavirus. It was the first non-adult fatality from the disease in Hampton Roads.
Dr. Sass said another concern is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children.
Although it is rare, MIS is a complication that occurs after COVID-19. Symptoms can include high fevers, rash, respiratory issues, cardiac issues and abdominal complaints.
Dr. Sass said it typically occurs four to six weeks after a surge.
"I'm worried about what is going to happen in the next few weeks, if we're going to see a similar rise in cases like we did in the early spring," she said. "The children we've had with this have tended to be much sicker."
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Sass said CHKD has treated at least 32 patients with presumed MIS-C. All of those patients recovered successfully.
VDH reports 81 confirmed cases of MIS-C in the state.
Dr. Sass also said other respiratory infections, like RSV and parainfluenza, have increased since May, making the summer look like a typical winter before the pandemic.
"It shows that masks and hand-washing and physical distancing are a beautiful thing," she said.