JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — As students return to class, cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Jacksonville.
On August 5, 2021, Baptist Health reported 16 children in Wolfson Children's Hospital with COVD-19.
And that's just the number of children in the hospital.
A local pediatrician says in the last two weeks, he has seen an increase in parents getting their children tested for coronavirus and those tests coming back positive.
Dr. Chris Emanuel with Baptist Pediatrics says in the pediatric COVID-19 cases he's seen the symptoms range from fever and cough to headaches. He says thankfully, the majority of his patients have not been seriously ill, but when there is a COVID-19 positive diagnosis, there is concern for long-term effects of the virus.
"The kids that are having long-term issues, it is fatigue, the loss of taste or smell that sometimes lingers. They talk about a brain fog, please seem confused, less able to focus," tells Dr. Emanuel.
He says with the new delta variant, they are seeing more child-to-child transmission. When it comes to the issue of masks, Dr. Emanuel says he believes masks are effective and children should be wearing them in school.
"With the numbers in the community right now, I think it is the best thing we can do to protect our kids, to try and make sure they wear their mask. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it for all kids over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status, even for our older kids who might be vaccinated. There is just so much in the community right now, I think it is the best thing we can do," says Dr. Emanuel.
His best advice to parents worried about COVID-19 in school is to talk to your child about handwashing and wearing their mask properly.
If your child has a temperature or feels sick, don't send them to school - keep them home and give your pediatrician’s office a call.