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Henrico doctors see 'big jump' in juvenile COVID-19 cases

Posted at 12:01 AM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 06:55:06-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Doctors at a Henrico pediatrics office have seen a large jump in toddlers, children, and young adults testing positive for COVID-19.

"In terms of the overall data, I think it has been fairly stable recently," Dr. Eric Freeman, Pediatrician and physician in chief at Old Dominion Pediatrics said.

Dr. Freeman said the majority of positive COVID-19 cases he's seen involve adults.

"So we do see some pediatrics cases but the predominate statistics are in the adult population," Dr. Freeman said.

But doctors at West End Pediatrics said they have seen a big jump in cases of toddlers, children, and young adults testing positive for the virus.

Most show light symptoms, including nasal congestion, fever, and sore throat, according to Dr. Scott Iwashyna with West End Pediatrics.

Dr. Iwashyna did not quantify what a big jump meant for his office.

Our little office is seeing a steep increase in the numbers of COVID positive kids ranging from toddlers to early 20’s. ...

Posted by West End Pediatrics on Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Virginia Department of Health says 3.4% of COVID cases involve infants and children up to age nine and 7.5% are from children ages 10 to 19.

"Because of the improved ability to test, we are getting a better appreciation of the gravity and size of the outbreak here in Virginia," Dr. Freeman said.

Even with the numbers, Dr. Freeman believes children aren't the highest risk for spreading the virus.

"I think with other types of upper respiratory viruses, particularly, influenza, children and their immune systems behave a little differently but we're just not seeing that with COVID," Dr. Freeman said.

In the meantime, West End Pediatrics is encouraging parents to check for symptoms before coming into the office, as well as using telehealth and following social distance guidelines.

"If we're able to do that, the better we're able to engage in a comprehensible mitigation strategy, the hope is, we`ll be able to neutralize or at least minimize the speed of community spread," Dr. Freeman said.

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for the most complete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Precautions

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.