JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Hundreds of people lining up in cars at Lot J to be tested for COVID-19 has become a common sight.
Only those 18 and older can be tested for COVID-19 at that site, but Dr. Pauline Rolle, of the Florida Department of Health in Duval County, said that doesn’t mean children are being overlooked during the coronavirus pandemic.
“One of the gaps in our community, of course, has been the pediatric population, so now we have more of them being tested as they recognize they can be tested through the Florida Department of Health in Duval or their primary health provider,” Rolle said. “So that is another population we are seeing for the first time.”
As of the latest report from the state Department of Health, there were 229 COVID-19 cases among individuals younger than 18.
Wolfson Children’s Hospital said its emergency room is seeing an increase in children being tested for COVID-19.
The hospital told News4Jax about the rise in pediatric testing after the newsroom received an emailed news tip from a man who claimed he heard the hospital was at full capacity with children suffering from multiple organ failures as a result of COVID-19. According to the claim, the hospital staff was overwhelmed by these pediatric cases and no one in news media was talking about it.
In response, Wolfson released the following statement:
“Wolfson Children’s Hospital is not full. Our census is under 80% at this time. Patients are hospitalized for a variety of conditions, from prematurity-related issues in our NICU to post-surgical care, along with treatment for childhood cancer and congenital heart defects.
“We have seen an uptick in children being tested at our Wolfson Children’s ERs. While our ERs are available for children’s emergencies, and we urge people not to delay care for emergency situations, we want to make sure parents and guardians are aware there are pediatric COVID-19 testing sites throughout the community. We have provided a list of those on wolfsonchildrens.com/covid19 as a resource. We also offer a COVID Nurse Triage Line at 904-302-5050, available daily from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.”