BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, more than 6,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19 just in the last two weeks.
Alabama Children’s Hospital released the number of how many COVID patients they have. As of Friday, they are treating 16 patients for COVID, and less then five are on a ventilator. Pediatricians in the area say they are somewhat surprised by the surge in children. And they fear if vaccination rates continue to be low in Alabama, this could be the beginning of many more positives.
“So, we are prepared for a really big surge and we’re starting to see some of it,” Dr. Erin Shaughnessy with UAB said.
Dr. Shaughnessy says kids of all ages are catching the virus.
“We’ve seen newborns. We’ve seen toddlers, school aged kids, teenagers,” Dr. Shaughnessy said.
She says more and more are going to the hospital. She says right now, doctors in all fields are being pushed to the limit.
“Pediatricians right now are feeling incredibly stressed. Because we want our own kids to be healthy just as we want your kids to be healthy,” Dr. Shaughnessy said.
Pediatricians like Dr. Paul Amamoo say having the conversation with parents about positive tests is never easy.
“It’s not an easy one, but a lot of them need to realize they are not doing what they should be doing,” Dr. Amamoo said.
Dr. Amamoo says most of the positive cases he has dealt with have been mild. Right now, he tells us if a child is positive, they try to make sure they aren’t in the building for long in order to limit spread.
“And the kids who are just born still need to get their primary immunizations. So, we don’t get them leaving with COVID or them getting any other preventable diseases,” Dr. Amamoo said.
And as cases continue to rise, doctors believe the tools to protect young children are there.
“We know that wearing masks helps,” Dr. Amamoo said.
But doctors say its going to take more than just mask wearing to end the pandemic.
“And the enemy here is not your neighbor. It’s not your pediatrician. It’s not public health officials. The enemy is the virus. And we can beat it, together. We just have to work together to do that,” Dr. Shaughnessy said.
Both doctors CBS 42 spoke with urge parents who have children of age to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.