It's no question that COVID-19 cases continue to rise locally. As of August 16 Riverside County recorded 485 new cases and 95 patients in ICU's across the county. The numbers are the highest they've been since February.
On August 12 The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report that there were 121,000 new cases among children that were added the week before "continuing a substantial increase."
"We are seeing a similar trend. We’re seeing that most of the kids that are being hospitalized are those that could not be vaccinated or those who mostly have not been vaccinated," said Loma Linda University Children's Hospital Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Maulin Soneji.
Reactions vary among kids, just like they do with adults, according to Dr. Soneji.
"We’ve seen some kids who have been severe enough that they’ve needed supplemental oxygen- high flow oxygen, we’ve had some kids that have needed to be intubated and even within the last couple weeks or so, and then we’ve had some kids that have had fairly mild illness," Dr. Soneji said.
On Monday, Riverside County reached 585 hospitalizations-- the highest number since February.
"We did expect there to be a rise in cases and everything else. It’s just that the rise is quite substantial," Riverside County's Department of Public Health spokesperson, Jose Arballo said.
With school back in session and on campus, Dr. Soneji said the best thing parents could do is get their children vaccinated if they are eligible. For those who have kids who are under age 12, he advised parents to be proactive and check whether staff is vaccinated. He also advised what health officials have advised all along- wearing masks and practicing good hand hygiene.
If you child has had the virus recently, there is also something Dr. Soneji said to look out for.
"After the COVID cases start we sometimes start seeing cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C. So I’m worried we’re going to start seeing that in the next coming weeks or so, end of this month, beginning of September," he said.
The onslaught of symptoms typically starts 3-4 weeks after a child has had COVID.
"And that was the typical story, someone in the family had COVID but the child themselves didn’t have any symptoms so that’s the big thing I would ask parents to look out for in the coming weeks-- especially if they’re starting to see their child have fevers that are unexplained, having diarrhea, abdominal pain. Call your doctor, get checked it out," said Dr. Soneji.
MIS-C is treatable, but it's a serious condition. While illness is rare, it is something Dr. Soneji believes parents need to be aware of.