KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As children head back to school, parents will be addressing some of the same concerns as last year with the added stress that more children are testing positive for the COVID-19 virus and ending up in the hospital.
Monday, there were 22 COVID-19 patients at Children’s Mercy Hospital, which shattered its previous record of 13 during the last surge. Tuesday that number dropped to 11, four of whom are in the I.C.U.
“We have a lower number in the hospital today than we did yesterday but I think it’s far too early to say that we are on the downhill,” said Dr. Angela Myers, Division Director of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
In fact, the trend is on the uphill climb. Children’s Mercy Hospital did a record 2,500 COVID tests last week, with a record number of positive results.
Clay County had more children under 5-years-old test positive for COVID-19 in July than the three previous months combined. Cass County’s positivity rate in that age group doubled last week and cases among children are on the rise in Kansas City, Missouri and Jackson and Wyandotte counties.
“I think it’s really important for us to use that information get the word out to people and hopefully will help people think about things before they’re out in large crowds without masks,” Myers said.
Child Psychologist Dr. Kari Struemph believes it is important to manage anxiety that comes along with seeing more friends and classmate affected by the virus as the numbers continue to rise.
“We’ve been telling kids, you know, kids don’t often get sick, it’s usually adults who get sick,” she said.
To help alleviate unnecessary stress, parents should keep adult conversations among adults and emphasize the importance of masking, hand washing and social distancing.
“Let kids know that there is some changes and that some kids are getting sick now. Most kids don’t but all we can do is continue to do the things that we’ve been doing to take care of ourselves and keep our family safe,” Struemph said.
Struemph also expects more children to be bullied over COVID-19 safety measures, mostly having to do with masking.