COVID-19 cases rise among children in Springfield, 113% increase from June to July in kids age 0-11

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 9:19 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The concern over the spread of the coronavirus is turning to some of the community’s youngest patients.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is reporting an 86% increase in COVID-19 cases among children across the country.

Cases in young children in Springfield are rising as the Delta variant continues to run rampant. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is reporting a 113% increase in infections for kids ages 0-11 from June to July. The health department reported that in July, 506 children ages 0-11 tested positive for COVID-19. That number is up from 217 positive cases in June. The previous peak was in December 2020 with 255 cases of COVID-19.

The department says children ages 0-11 accounted for 8.5% of all reported cases in the month of July. The health department says that as of Monday, fewer than 20% of kids over 12-years-old are fully vaccinated.

Mercy pediatric intensive care unit physician, Dr. Diane Lipscomb, says it’s crucial kids eligible get both doses of the vaccine.

“With having both vaccines done, their ability to create an immune response is fantastic,” Dr. Lipscomb says.

Dr. Lipscomb says many of the pediatric admissions are teenagers. When it comes to their treatment plan, it’s similar to the adult patients.

“Many of the medicines that are used to treat adults are available for children,” Dr. Lipscomb says. “It’s determined on how sick they are. But not all of them are available for children so we do treat them very similarly and a lot of it is supportive care, meaning we help them when they’re having a hard time breathing, help them if they can’t eat. Many of them could end up on a ventilator or special needs of ventilator or respiratory support.”

CoxHealth reported 28 pediatric patients hospitalized over the months of June and July.

On Wednesday, Mercy has an infant less than one-year-old hospitalized with COVID-19.

Dr. Lipscomb says most of kids symptoms are similar to that of adults. They may have fevers, runny nose and congestion. However, she says there are certain things parents should watch.

“If a child is showing more distress where they’re having severe trouble breathing, where the family is seeing color changes, instead of looking pink and having good color they’re starting to look pale or blue,” Dr. Lipscomb says. “Or they’re not able to eat or drink, then they do need to seek more immediate, urgent healthcare.”

The health department says it’s working closely with school districts in the area to prevent more kids from getting sick once the school year starts. Springfield-Greene County Health Director Katie Towns is advising parents to monitor any symptoms and to continue encouraging social distancing.

“Taking appropriate measures as necessary to stop transmission of COVID,” Towns says. “If it’s located to a classroom or a school or whatever it might be, we’ll be working in close partnership to make sure that we have measures in place to stop that.”

Dr. Lipscomb says it’s still unclear how this will impact kids long-term. Some adults develop other conditions after testing positive.

“Those that were critically ill did have long-term recovery with respiratory disease, recovery of fatigue, some heart diseases,’ Dr. Lipscomb says. “In children, I think that’s to be determined because we’re now just seeing children that are critically ill with COVID.”

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department reported 27 COVID-19 deaths over the last week. And 94% of the community members who have died since January were not vaccinated.

On Wednesday, CoxHealth reported 162 hospitalizations.

At Mercy, that number totals 133. Mercy reports 13 deaths so far in August, five of which were in the last 24 hours. Of all patients admitted to the intensive care unit at Mercy, the hospital says 51% have died.

Towns says it’s crucial for anyone eligible to get the vaccine to protect those young kids not able to get vaccinated.

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