ORLANDO, Fla. — New data shows nearly a third of children who’ve been tested for the coronavirus, have tested positive. But a pediatrician says children are doing better than adults with COVID-19, and parents should keep that data into perspective.
Dr. Jenna Wheeler is a Critical Care Physician with Orlando Health. She’s already treated several local children for the coronavirus, and that means she’s seen some worried parents.
“I reassure parents that regardless of what that test shows – whether it be positive or negative – I’m here to treat your child, I’m here to treat the symptoms that are in front of me, I’m going to give them oxygen if they need oxygen,” Wheeler said.
New statistics released on Wednesday by the Florida Department of Health show statewide, nearly a third of children tested for the coronavirus are testing positive – compared to the overall positivity rate that’s less than half of that.
Wheeler says that doesn’t necessarily mean children are more likely to catch the virus.
She says the positivity rate is likely higher among children because if parents are taking kids to get tested, it’s probably because they’re showing some sort of symptoms.
“It doesn’t surprise me those pediatric numbers are going to have a little bit higher positivity rate just based on the fact that most parents, if their kids aren’t at all sick, aren’t going to bother to take them to get tested,” Wheeler said.
The doctor says overall, children with COVID-19 are doing better than adults.
“Children with COVID really are doing well with this, in general,” Wheeler said.
The state data shows out of the more than 17,000 cases among people younger than 18, only about 200 of them have required hospitalizations, and only four children have died from COVID-19 across the state.
“If your child’s not acting like himself, if they’re not waking up appropriately, if you’re not able to keep them eating or drinking, if they have rashes all over their body or joint aches – those are the kinds of things that would tell me that you really need to be reaching out to your local doctor,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler says if a parent is at that point where they think it’s time to take their child to the doctor, she suggests calling the doctor first before just showing up. Doctors may want you to take steps aimed at stopping the further spread of the virus, including setting up a video call instead of an in-person visit.
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