BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – State health leaders said COVID-19 cases in school age children are up 300% compared to this time last year.
State health leaders said there are 50 cases of young people hospitalized due to the virus with nine on ventilators.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said the state has never seen this high a number of kids hospitalized or on ventilators throughout the entire pandemic.
He said the increase is likely because kids are in school gathering again and because the Delta variant is just so much more infectious. Harris said most children will recover from COVID-19, but not always without long term side effects. The state reports that at least 6% of kids are experiencing long term consequences from the virus.
At least 113 kids across the state have suffered from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome from COVID-19. Harris said that illness can affect a kid’s brain, heart, lungs, and kidneys.
Harris said it is hard to say if the vaccine is preventing kids from having serious illness because there is not much data yet.
“We really think most of this is preventable,” Harris said. “I don’t really have specific data on long term COVID or long hauler syndrome or those things in vaccinated kids, it may happen. It certainly seems like it is going to be a whole lot less likely to happen.”
Dr. Harris said the percent positivity rate in kids 5 to 17 is 27% and that is higher than the state average percent positivity.
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