COVID-19 cases in children have steadily increased over last month, nation’s pediatricians say

4 pediatric COVID patients on ventilators at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Medical personnel hands over a non-invasive Covid 19 test. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (Andrew Medichini, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SAN ANTONIO – The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is reporting a steady increase in COVID-19 cases among children in the last month.

Nearly 72,000 COVID-19 cases were reported in children last week - up from 39,000 cases the week prior, AAP officials reported.

As of July 29, at least 4.2 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, according to the AAP.

The uptick in pediatric patients is a trend that is also playing out in San Antonio, Bexar County officials said during a COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.

Chief Medical Officer at Christus Health’s Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, Dr. Charles Hankins, told KSAT that as of Sunday there were four pediatric COVID patients on ventilators, including a 4-year old child. Hankins said in previous surges, at most, 2%-3% of child hospitalizations were coronavirus-related. Now, 10% of child hospitalizations are coronavirus-related, with half of those young patients in the ICU. Officials also said an 11-month-old with COVID-19 was recently admitted to the ICU at University Hospital.

Hankins recommended children wear masks when they return to school, a sentiment echoed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, San Antonio’s Metro Health and the AAP, even though schools are prohibited from issuing mask orders, as well as vaccine mandates, due to an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott.

Health experts say the best way to guard against serious illness from COVID-19 is to get fully vaccinated.

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.