PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A South Florida pediatrician is worried about the continued rise in COVID-19 cases among children, especially now that the new school year is underway.
Palm Beach Pediatrics has three locations and all are seeing an increase of COVID-19 cases among children. Just this past week, they were at a 17% positivity rate among their patients -- testing only the children who have symptoms. But things weren't like this before.
According to Dr. Shannon Fox-Levine, president at Palm Beach Pediatrics, since October their offices had a low positivity rate of 5% to 6%. It even got to a 2% positivity rate in June 2021. But in the middle of July is when everything changed. There were more diagnoses of COVID-19 in children just within their medical offices.
"The delta variant that was hitting the area in July is something that is more contagious and causing more children to be symptomatic," said Fox-Levine. "We have seen an increase with all of the kids going to camp over the summer and then restart school."
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association also confirms that new coronavirus cases in children nationwide have been increasing since July after a period of decline in the early summer.
Fox-Levine said the spike of cases among children is due to the contagious delta variant.
"It is the perfect storm," said Fox-Levine. "We had the increase in rates just as the kids were starting to go back to school. So, two to three weeks before school started, our office started calculating the percentage increase and we were seeing some days upwards of 40% positivity rate from their sick kids that we were testing."
Fox-Levine recommends vaccination and masks until the spread of the virus is under control.
"If your house is on fire, do you question the firemen when they arrive to put out the fire? I don't think so," said Fox-Levine. "I think we would all stand back and hope that they save our family members and they put out the fire and our pets right. So this is what we have to do, so please trust your medical community."