MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge in Montgomery, pediatricians are warning about an accompanying rise in cases among children, many of whom aren’t yet eligible for the vaccine.

“We certainly are seeing with this new delta variant of COVD-19 an increased rate of positive tests in children, and children seem to actually be getting sicker,” said Dr. Adam Scott, a pediatrician at Professional Pediatrics at The Jackson Clinic.

Adam said The Jackson Clinic is treating anywhere between 5 and 10 children with the virus a day. There is now concern that the case numbers will increase as schools resume classes.

“It seems like we’re seeing an uptick in the cases. It’s not as high as it was t the peak of the pandemic, but we’re worried about which way it’s headed,” Scott said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported more than 121,000 cases among U.S. children last week. That’s more than 14 times the weekly number in late June.

Child cases represented 18% of the U.S. total last week against 14.4% over the whole pandemic, AAP states.

Scott said, in line with the rest of the country, somewhere between one to two percent of children with COVID-19 end up in the hospital.

“Luckily, and very fortunately, death is very unlikely. They can get very sick, and I think it’s important to realize that not only can they get sick and be hospitalized, and those kids do tend to get better, but they can have long-term symptoms associated with COVID-19 that can last for weeks, if not months,” Scott said.

Overall, Scott said hospitalization and death among children is unlikely.

Pediatricians highly recommend children get vaccinated and wear masks, especially inside the classroom, to prevent from getting sick and spreading the virus to others.

“In order to make it a safe transition to go back to school, make sure that your children are wearing their masks and following the local mandates for mask-wearing,” said Dr. Ulysses Davila, a pediatrician at Professional Pediatrics at The Jackson Clinic.

“We know vaccines work, they are extremely effective and very safe, including in children 12 and up,” Scott said. “Definitely talk to your pediatrician about getting your child vaccinated.”

Until those under age 12 are eligible for the vaccine, pediatricians say it’s up to us to protect them.

“There’s kind of a social responsibility to help protect those children in order to protect them from getting ill, and part of the way that you do that is that if you’re able to get vaccinated to get vaccinated,” Davila said.

Both Moderna and Pfizer launched trials of their COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 12 in March. Results of those trials are expected in the fall.

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