Doctors urge caution as COVID-19 cases rise ahead of school year

COVID-19 cases are again on the rise across the country. The CDC reports two new subvariants account for more than 90% of current cases.

For the week of July 10-16, the CDC reported BA.5 made up 77.9% of cases and BA.4 made up 12.8% percent of cases. Doctors said with less than a month until the kids return to the classroom, now is the time to prepare.

"When we talk about back to school, I think summertime is the time that schools should really be thinking about how they're going to mitigate some of the potential increased transmission," USF Health Professor Dr. Michael Teng said.

In a recent White House briefing doctors said improving air quality through ventilation and air purifiers is critical in schools and businesses.

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"A lot of our school districts are older. So that you have to think of more creative ways of increasing ventilation," Teng said.

Bay Area doctors said taking any steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 is important, because they are seeing an increase in kids being hospitalized with COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.

"So we are seeing a big spike in these cases, and kids are absolutely being affected," Dr. Meghan Martin, a pediatric emergency physician, said. "Kids are needing to be hospitalized. Even kids without medical issues, we've had to put in the hospital for different problems. So kids are absolutely being affected by these COVID 19 variants."

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Doctors hope this latest surge will encourage more parents to get their children vaccinated before the start of the school year.

"A lot of us parents are even vaccinated, and we're seeing low just really low numbers of the younger kids being vaccinated," Martin said. "And I think it's important we've taken these steps for ourselves to protect ourselves. And I think it's important to take those steps to help protect our kids."

FOX 13 reached out to school districts in the Tampa Bay area and were told they would be following the latest state guidelines when school returns.