MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The American Academy of Pediatrics has released data showing an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases in children. Medical experts say that creates an increase in a risk that’s unique to kids.
Statewide, numbers show more than 30,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19.
Dr. Ronald Ford, the chief medical officer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, has seen the uptick in pediatric cases firsthand.
“We anticipated this happening a couple weeks ago. The unknown here is how many we are going to see and over what period of time,” he said.
Miami-Dade and Broward have seen more than 11,000 children ages 14 and younger with the virus. More than 130 have been in the hospital.
Dr. Ford said some of the children battling COVID-19 suffer from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C for short.
“It’s very rare but it can be quite serious. So, seeing more and more cases of it is quite concerning to us,” he said.
So far, the children’s hospital has cared for 19 patients with MIS-C. However, more than half were from this month.
“We had seen nine between the middle of May and the beginning of August. But now, in just the last two weeks, that number has doubled,” he said.
The illness usually occurs three to six weeks after contracting the virus. It’s still unclear why it happens to some children.
The most common symptom is a really high fever and simply looking sick.
“When they come in with high fevers and an ill appearance, even if they did not have a documented COVID-19 infection in the past, they should still consider this as a possibility,” Ford said.
Doctors are treating MIS-C similar to how they deal with Kawasaki Disease, which is found in infants and young kids. It’s a mix of medicine and steroids.
“They require medications to support their blood pressure, their kidney function and sometimes their cardiac function,” he said.
Dr. Ford said he wants parents, teachers and fellow doctors to be aware of the illness in children with COVID-19.
Unfortunately, he said, it’s likely hospitals will see more sick children.