CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - With COVID-19 positive cases surging in South Carolina, many parents are concerned about sending their children back into a classroom in the coming months.
School districts are continuing to discuss their reopening plans but there are positive cases being reported in school-aged children.
According to Department of Health and Environmental Control data, there have been more than 73,000 positive COVID-19 cases here in South Carolina since the pandemic started.
In looking at DHEC’s charts, a record high was hit just last week.
While younger children are less susceptible to getting the virus, DHEC says there are still positive cases turning up in the 10 and younger age group, as well as the 11-20 year old group.
Those numbers are 4% and 11% respectively of total cases, making about 11,000 positive cases between the two groups.
Doctors say they’re already seeing an uptick in pediatric cases, and with school possibly going back in the fall, they say they are expecting those numbers to jump.
“I think one of the things that we all appreciated was when they shut the schools down in March, we were in the middle of a resurgence of flu and RSV,” Pediatric Emergency Dept Summerville Medical Center Medical Director Dr. Douglas Holtzman said. “It sort of disappeared. And it sort of confirmed what we always worry about is that school kids share germs.”
Holtzman said it’s vital for people to get their flu vaccine because they need to be able to take that off the table when children come in sick.
“It’s going to be an interesting fall and winter,” Holtzman said. “When school starts I think our numbers are going to go back up and I think once we hit respiratory season and flu season we’re going to see a dramatic increase in everything and we’re going to have to try to figure it out.”
The silver lining is that doctors say children are still handling COVID better than adult patients.
Holtzman says teenagers who have come in with the virus are showing more symptoms of the flu, congestion and sore throat. While in younger children with the virus, Holtzman says they’re seeing more abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Essentially, Holtzman says it’s more of the GI symptoms rather than the respiratory symptoms you see in the adults.