HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla.—As kids are back in the classroom and school is in full swing during the pandemic, medical experts and parents are keeping their eyes on COVID-19 cases among children in the Tampa Bay Area.
Florida Department of Health (DOH) data reveals Hillsborough County logged 12 new pediatric COVID-19 cases from Wednesday.
“I think we were definitely expecting the numbers to go up once schools started,” said Dr. Beatriz Sankey of Children’s Medical Center. “Certainly as kids start doing more of their regular activities, of course, we’re going to see an increase of cases of the virus going around in the community. I think we all expected to start seeing an increase.”
ABC Action News tallied DOH’s pediatric coronavirus data that's been released since Monday, August 31. Hillsborough County reported 131 new pediatric cases, Polk County had 71, Pinellas County had 22, and Pasco County had 19.
Dr. Sankey says its important parents look for symptoms in their kids, check their temperatures and ask how they feel before sending them out the door and off to school.
“If they look a little off to you, just watch them at home. Make sure they’re OK before you send them back, and then that way, we can hopefully not see outbreaks,” said Sankey.
Dr. Sankey reminds people to wash their hands, wear a mask, and social distance, especially heading into a holiday weekend. When it comes to testing your child for COVID-19, Sankey says being patient may pay off because a test too early may not register the virus.
“If it's related to exposure, I would say at least to give it five days. If the patient is starting to develop symptoms, let’s say they have a mild cough with a sore throat, a little bit of a fever, I would say definitely give it at least three days before you come in to get tested because if you’re too early into the illness, sometimes you cannot catch that virus," she said.