COVID-19 cases in kids on the rise in Tampa Bay area, local doctor shares concerns

Posted at 6:38 AM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 08:10:24-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Pediatric cases of COVID-19 are rising in the Tampa Bay area with hundreds of new cases reported by the state in the past week.

“I think there’s still a lot of unknowns there first of all. I think that’s very important,” said Dr. Jason Wilson, Associate Director of the Emergency Department at Tampa General Hospital.

Here are the total numbers of pediatric cases in local counties that the state reported up to Nov. 13:

  • Citrus: 299
  • Hernando: 295
  • Highlands: 249
  • Hillsborough: 4,846
  • Manatee: 1,712
  • Pasco: 1,130
  • Pinellas: 2,113
  • Polk: 2,664
  • Sarasota: 854

Experts say we’re in a critical time right now where the virus count is much higher than it was two months ago.

“What we are seeing though is more and more cases kind of coming in, and I expect that we’re going to keep on seeing even a higher rate of new cases because as kids and students shift from learning back into the brick and mortar classrooms, that’s just more bodies to get infected,” said Wilson.

Since the pandemic started, experts say they’ve been watching the virus to see how it spreads in pediatric populations.

“What we don’t want to see is that spread among young people start to fuel a community spread. And so far it’s not, it’s actually the opposite way around right now. What’s happening right now is likely the community is fueling higher number of cases among the students and kids and pediatric population,” said Wilson.

It’s something experts say they’re keeping a close eye on, especially right now that COVID-19 cases are rising in the community again.

For the most part, children do pretty well with the virus and any kids who have had severe cases usually have other medical conditions.

However, Wilson says they are seeing more and more cases of Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C, which is related to COVID-19.

RELATED: Sarasota toddler diagnosed with MIS-C, a condition associated with COVID-19

Wilson says it can have worse outcomes than the virus itself.

The more kids who get the coronavirus, the higher chance there is of more kids getting this syndrome.

“The problem is I don’t have a good predictive measure or predictive tool for which kid is going to get the syndrome versus a kid who is not going to get that syndrome. So it’s hard to say if we’re 100% safe because we’re probably not,” said Wilson.