PELL CITY, Ala. (WIAT) – In recent weeks, thousands of Alabama children have tested positive for COVID-19 and it’s not even been a whole month of school for some counties.
Lena Etheridge, a 5-year-old kindergarten student at Lola Roberts, just came off her second bout with the virus. Her mother, Ashely Lingerfelt, says the first time she tested positive, she had no symptoms.
“It still scared me because she is my one and only child. And I stayed up all night for a couple of days to week, checking on her breathing,” Lingerfelt said.
She says this recent time around, she had mild symptoms like coughing and losing her taste, but overall was okay. She is now negative and just went back to school recently. But Lena wasn’t the only one who was sick recently. Lingerfelt and other family members tested positive as well.
“I didn’t like to think about that with my mommy,” Etheridge said.
Lingerfelt is thankful her daughter didn’t have a difficult time with the virus because she knows that’s not the same case for many other children.
“There’s more children now with this new variant that’s getting kids sicker than adults,” Lingerfelt said.
And after this experience, Lingerfelt wishes a COVID-19 vaccine for children is approved soon.
“You see these children dying from COVID and it scared me to death,” Lingerfelt said.
Most health experts say mask wearing for children who aren’t old enough to get vaccinated is the best protection for them. When it comes to kids Lena’s age, Lingerfelt thinks it’s hard for them to wear masks throughout the day. Besides encouraging mask wearing, she believes there needs to be other safety protocols in place like stricter social distancing or less children in a room at time. Both Lingerfelt and her daughter encourage all parents when it comes to the virus to play it safe and follow any safety guidelines in place.
Lingerfelt is still positive for COVID as of Monday. She says she’s been distancing from her daughter as best she can and is getting tested again soon. When it comes to getting the COVID vaccine, Lingerfelt says she is now leaning more into getting the shot so she and her family can be protected.