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DHEC bringing attention to ‘sobering’ numbers for kids and COVID

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 5:57 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) -The Department of Health and Environmental Control says the numbers are startling.

The agency really wants parents to start paying attention to them.

Since the last few weeks of August, the 11 to 20 age group has recorded the highest number of COVID cases out of any other group. The 0-11 age group comes in right behind them. The third week in June, the 11-20 age group accounted for about 180 cases. This past week, that number has skyrocketed to more than 7,700.

DHEC says the highest percentage rise in cases goes to the 0-10 group, a group that cannot be vaccinated. One mom, who has three kids that caught COVID, tells me the numbers are not surprising.

”School started and there seems to me very little, if not nothing, in place,” said Natalie Paez-Hart.

DHEC says those numbers are cause for concern considering the third week of school just finished. Paez-Hart is one mom whose three kids are a part of that 7,000 number.

”It does not surprise me,” she said.

Six days. That is how long it took for her 11-year-old student to catch COVID in school. He woke up with a runny nose she thought was allergies. When he got hot, it turned out he had a fever of 102.8.

”It’s very upsetting that he’s in school for literally six days and on the seventh day he gets symptoms,” she said.

He has almost recovered and is able to play basketball with his two siblings who also got COVID, but during the first few days after showing symptoms, Paez-Hart watched her son turn into someone she did not know.

”My son is a very rambunctious typical 11-year-old who likes to be outside very active non-stop and he was just completely out of it,” said Paez-Hart.

He and his siblings are expected to make a full recovery but after the entire ordeal, Paez-Hart is sharing an important message.

”Kids do get COVID and the numbers are just creeping up so quickly and so rapidly and they’re not doing enough,” she said.

With the recent dramatic spike in numbers, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is pushing their message about preventative measures once again.

”So many of these cases can be prevented through vaccinations and masking,” said DHEC Medical Consultant Dr. Jonathan Knoche.

DHEC is eyeing the adults, those South Carolinians who they say can step up and prevent more spread.

”We can end this pandemic if we increase our vaccination rates,” he said. “To do that we need all South Carolinians to do their part in protecting themselves and their loved ones.”

Paez-Hart watches her kids playing while echoing the same message of coming together.

”We’re not doing a good job and we can do better and we need to do better for everybody else,” said Paez-Hart.

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