Doctors urge parents to know the signs as they see uptick in child COVID-19 cases

Researchers said children did not appear to be at any greater risk of severe illness due to COVID-19, but doctors in the Tampa Bay area say more children are testing positive for the virus.

At Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Dr. Juan Dumois said 20 children have tested positive in the last three months at the hospital, but this week has been much worse.

“And of all the kids that have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic, one-quarter of our positive tests have been in the last three days,” said Dumois, the pediatric infectious diseases physician.

Dr. Dumois said the hospital’s numbers match up with national trends. Though the rate of infection remains low, the Centers for Disease Control reports more positive cases in children 17 and under nationwide as of June 19.

“When we’re leaving home with our children, we have to think about protecting them. Most children who are infected do very well, but there are some children who get very sick,” said Dumois.

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Dr. Dumois said coronavirus symptoms show up differently in children and it all depends on your child’s age.

“A baby, for example, may just present with just a fever or they may present with no fever at all but have difficulty feeding or being a little more irritable than usual,” he said.

And if your child is school-aged, if they are showing cold symptoms or a fever and look sicker than usual, doctors said that is a sign that they may need to be checked out.

“With older children, then it might depend upon whether they have any severe medical conditions like really bad asthma that’s hard to control or a severe weakness of the immune system,” said Dumois.

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As for teenagers, doctors said their symptoms tend to be more familiar, such as a cough, congestion, fever or sudden loss of sensation like smell or taste.

So if your child is sick and you’re worried about COVID-19, Dr. Dumois said it’s a good idea to get a check-up.

“Then the doctor’s going to know what to look for, for signs of whether the child is mildly ill or more severely ill,” said Dumois.

Doctors said those are all signs to keep in mind as families begin summer camps, activities or bring their children with them in public spaces again. They said wearing a mask will help protect your family.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know


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