ADPH: Children age 5-17 testing positive for COVID-19 at increase of 355% compared to this time last year

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ALABAMA (WRBL) – According to ADPH between August 1 and August 12, 2020, Alabama had 1,356 reports of COVID-19 in the age range of 5 to 17 years. In this same date range in 2021, there were 6,181 reports among 5 to 17-year-olds, a 355 percent increase.

Alabama has at least 50 children hospitalized statewide and has recently had at least 9 children on ventilators in a single day according to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).  

In the past four weeks, 6.2 percent of cases of COVID-19 in Alabama have been among children 0-4 years of age, while 8.1 percent have been in the 5 to 17 age range.

The current percent positive rate in persons 5-17 in Alabama is higher than the state average, with at least 27 percent of SARS-CoV-2 tests in children being positive. These numbers are based on data reported to Alabama’s electronic disease surveillance system.

“I am very concerned that the children of Alabama are experiencing more illness and hospitalizations as a result of COVID-19. Children can and do contract and spread COVID-19 disease.” Says ADPH pediatrician, Dr. Karen Landers in a news release.

Landers continued, in detail, describing the effects COVID-19 is having on children. “COVID-19 can be a very serious illness in children with at least 6 percent of children experiencing long-term consequences of this disease.  Further, at least 113 children in our state have suffered from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome of Childhood (MIS-C), a severe illness that occurs after COVID disease and affects several organs, including the brain, heart, lungs, and kidneys, among other body systems.”

“Delta variant accounts for most of the SARS-CoV-2 cases in Alabama, based upon surveillance. Delta can replicate more quickly and infect earlier than previous SARS-CoV-2 variants. These factors are fueling the surge of COVID-19 among Alabama’s children,” notes Dr. Benjamin Estrada, Director, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Professor of Pediatrics, University of South Alabama College of Medicine.

To combat this surge in disease, ADPH recommends all children ages 12 and above be vaccinated. ADPH recently issued School Guidance that any child who has COVID-19 disease should remain in home isolation for 10 days in order to prevent spreading the virus.

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