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COVID-19 cases in children rising as new school year approaches

Posted at 5:17 PM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-28 17:17:22-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — An increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in children has some parents taking notice. And with back to school quickly approaching, doctors are also sharing an important message.

Dr. Shannon Fox-Levine with Palm Beach Pediatrics said June was the busiest on record in her 20 years of practice, and she said a new COVID-19 subvariant is mostly to blame.

"It's increasingly difficult to find ways to keep the kids entertained," said parent Peter Bowen.

For Bowen and his 3-year-old son Casey, navigating through the COVID-19 is a challenge.

"We still don’t do a lot of indoor stuff, just because you don’t know what that situation is going to be if they become exposed. We do a lot of parks. We go from north county to south county," Bowen said.

And with pediatric cases back on the rise, it appears it won't be getting any easier.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 91,932 child COVID-19 cases were reported last week across the nation. Doctors said the omicron subvariant BA.5 is to blame.

"We in the last two weeks have seen a significant increase in the positivity rate for our own sick patients who come in," Fox-Levine said.

Fox-Levine said she's currently seeing a repeat of last year during the delta surge where 30% of her symptomatic patients are testing positive.Wit

With back to school right around the corner, Fox-Levine is urging parents to get their kids vaccinated.

"We know that for this new variant you may still get illness," Fox-Levine said. "Chances are you will have a very mild illness from it. Yes, there’s always going to be those exceptions. But why take the chance? Get the vaccine to prevent your child from getting severe infection."

Fox-Levine's message to parents also includes recommending face masks in class.

"That is the one way we know you will have the best chance of not getting an illness from sitting next to kids in class that don’t have mask on that may have COVID-19," Fox-Levine said.

Currently, children 6 months and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.