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Coronavirus Cases Among Children Up 90% In Last Month: 'Kids Get COVID, They Can Spread It'

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - According to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the number of coronavirus cases among children in the United States has increased 90% in the past month.

CBS 11 took a closer look at the data in North Texas.

"Kids get COVID," said Dr. Nicholas Rister, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Cook Children's. "They can spread it. They can get it from their parents."

Doctors say the number of pediatric cases tends to reflect what's going on in the community.

Cook Children's in Fort Worth has tested more 14,000 children for COVID-19 and 993 have been positive.

The hospital's daily positive case count peaked in July and has actually been declining ever since.

"I think in our case that definitely reflects the numbers are going down," Dr. Rister. "We're seeing a lot less disease in our area, which makes sense because we paused reopening."

In Tarrant County, children under 15 years old make up just 6% of cases. Teens and young adults ages 15 to 24 account for 17%.

In Dallas County, there's been a steady rise in the number of kids with COVID-19. Children ages zero to 17 made up just 2% of cases in March. In August, that's up to 15%.

"Most kids respond very well, after a few months they're back to their normal state," Dr. Rister said.

There have been more serious cases though.

"It may be only one out of 300 kids or so that ends up in the ICU, but if that's your child, that's the one that counts," said Dr. Rister.

Dr. Rister says the most common reason children with COVID-19 end up in the hospital is because they're having trouble breathing and need oxygen help.

The most severe cases require intubation in the ICU. Kids with virus symptoms of nausea and vomiting may become so dehydrated they need IV fluids.

Cook Children's currently has five COVID-19 patients in the hospital. Children's Health has 13.

Those numbers will likely go up with so many kids headed back to the classroom this month.

"The schools may reopen and there might be a calm before the storm," Dr. Rister said. "I hope it's just a very small storm."

He recommends consulting with your child's health care provider and their school district, to weigh the risks and benefits of sending them back to school.

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