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Health officials express concern as serious COVID-19 cases in young children rise

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 7:01 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Atrium Health leaders are concerned as they said they’re seeing more serious COVID-19 cases in younger children.

It comes as a 7-year-old student at Stoney Creek Elementary School in Charlotte died after a battle with the disease.

Related: ‘Sad and shocked.’ CMS elementary student dies after bout with COVID-19

Mecklenburg County did confirm to WBTV that there have been two pediatric deaths in 2021. Back in August, a 16-year-old Lancaster County student also died following a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Atrium Health doctors said they are seeing more children testing positive for the virus. In fact, 30 percent of current COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are children.

According to Atrium Health doctors, 20 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations are kids who don’t have underlying conditions.

“Children under 17 account for 20 to 25 percent of our population. But as of two weeks ago, of all the cases of people testing positive, almost 30 percent were children,” Dr. Amina Ahmed, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist with Atrium Health, said.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is currently available to children 12 and older and could soon be available for children as young as 5.

Doctors also say children with underlying health conditions are eligible for a booster.

They also stress that parents should continue to have conversations with their children about the importance of wearing a mask, social distancing when possible, and making sure to wash their hands regularly.

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