JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More children in Jacksonville are hospitalized with COVID-19 now than at any other point since the start of the pandemic. But there is some good news.
For the most part, those who are sick are not severe and are expected to recover, health officials said.
News4JAX has reported in the past on the tragic deaths of children from COVID-19. But as of this week, most children are in the hospital for other reasons and learned they also have the coronavirus.
Let start with the numbers: On Wednesday there were 24 children with COVID-19 at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and four in the ICU. On Tuesday, there were 19 cases and on Monday there were 14 cases. Most of last week there were only three cases.
Pediatric hospitalist Dr. Steven Pattishall said the increase is not a surprise. He said it is mimicking what’s happening across the country and similar to what’s happening with adults.
“Fortunately, what we are seeing right now is children, in general, don’t seem to be as sick as we’ve been seeing several months ago. A lot of the patients that we were seeing or being admitted for other reasons,” Pattishall said.
News4JAX heard the same from other clinics in Jacksonville like Angel Children Pediatrics. The CEO said more children are testing positive than ever before, but the symptoms are similar to the flu.
Statewide the numbers of children in the hospital are also increasing but that is expected to level out soon.
News4JAX was at testing and vaccine sites on Wednesday talking to parents about what they are seeing with their children.
Eryn Mooney has three children under the age of five.
“I do everything in my power that I can to make sure my children stay safe,” Mooney said.
Mooney said she’s had COVID-19 before and quarantined from her children. Mooney is not vaccinated and when she and other loved ones around her children get sick, she said they get tested to make sure they don’t pass it on to the children.
While the illness may not be as bad as it was last summer, Dr. Pattishall said parents should still call their doctor if their child tests positive.
“Watch for any worsening symptoms which would include things like shortness of breath, decreased ability to take in liquids, dehydrated and just really lethargic. But again, very small subset of children are going to have that trouble. Most will have very mild symptoms. Most will have a runny nose, cough and a headache typical virus symptoms,” Pattishall said.
UF Health said its numbers have been going up all week as well.
But Chad Neilsen, an infectious disease expert at UF Health, said the majority of its COVID-19 patients admitted right now are not being treated for severe illness.
“We are relatively stable. We did see a jump in our COVID-19 cases late last week after a little bit of a plateau but now a little bit rise in cases but I will say a large majority of our current cases are incidental COVID cases. What I mean by incidental, they came in for other reasons,” Neilsen said.