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Urgent care and emergency rooms filling up with children seeking COVID-19 care

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 10:48 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Urgent care and emergency rooms are being overrun with children exposed to COVID-19, that’s according to a state health leader.

More children are testing positive for COVID each day. As of Monday, percent positivity for children ages 5-17 was about 27%, according to deputy state health officer, Dr. Karen Landers; it’s alarming because that rate was higher than the percentage of positive tests in adults which, at the time, was 21.9%.

“We don’t need to discount COVID-19 in children,” Dr. Landers warned. “Major medical school of pediatric infectious disease who indicated that about a third of their visits to their emergency room over the weekend were for COVID. They had only one pediatric bed in their ICU for COVID.”

According to Dr. Landers, at least 113 Alabama children have had a serious reaction to COVID which causes vital organs to become inflamed.

“We’ve got somewhere between 40 and 50 kids at any given time in the hospital with COVID,” said Landers.

A number of those children were on ventilators, she said. The long-term effects of COVID-19 on children could also be debilitating.

“Brain fog. They may have headaches. They may have shortness of breath, palpitations, fatigue, sleep disturbance; these are not things we want our children to suffer,” Landers advised.

Landers said the vaccine, if eligible, and other mitigation like masks, distancing, and hygiene were important to keep children and the entire community safe.

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