MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Health officials say it’s a concerning trend, as COVID cases at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital doubled in the last week.
Doctors say they are worried about the increase in cases as kids are back in school.
“Yeah it is very concerning. I think this is what we were fearful of last week and you just see these numbers go up,” said Dr. Nick Hysmith, of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
Le Bonheur reports 17 kids in the hospital with COVID- of those six are in ICU.
“It’s taking a toll. We’ve been doing this 18 months. Approximately a month, a month and a half ago we were coming down and everyone thought this thing was over,” said Hysmith.
Doctors say but with the Delta Variant spreading, this is far from over, especially for children.
“We know there’s going to be some exposures in schools, and I’m glad that have the mask mandate in schools to make that less likely,” said Hysmith. “I think it’s more transmissible and I think the disease we’re seeing in kids is more severe than what we’ve seen previously.”
While there is a vaccine available now, only kids 12 and older are eligible to take it. Health leaders are concerned by the number of kids who could be vaccinated but aren’t.
“So we’ve got a whole group of kids who are attending school who could be protected in another way besides just mask if they would go out and get vaccinated if their parents made the decision to have them vaccinated,” said Dr. Michelle Taylor, the Director of the Shelby County Health Department.
Dr. Taylor says the 18-34 year-old age group has the lowest rates of full vaccinations. She says those are also the parents of the children they’re trying to protect.
“If we just put it in relation to protecting children, I believe that folks in this community understand that and we will have more people going out to get vaccinated when they look at that,” said Taylor.