Florida pediatric COVID cases continue to rise ahead of first day of school

Doctors at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital continue to be alarmed by the number of pediatric COVID-19 cases coming through their doors.

On July 20, they told FOX 13 that in the previous week they had 31 cases in the emergency room. Today, they said they were still compiling numbers, but that each week in July set a new benchmark.

Statewide, the number of child and teen hospital admissions has increased, from 25 the week of July 18 to 32 the week of July 25.

RELATED: Fried: Florida Department of Health withholding weekend COVID-19 numbers

"We are seeing many more cases of COVID than we have in the last couple of weeks," said Dr. Wassam Rahman, the head of their emergency department.

Doctors are worried because of how transmissible the delta variant is when compared to the first strains of COVID-19. The group setting of school could make it easier for them to trade it in classrooms, then bring it home, especially to unvaccinated parents.

"They are in a closed environment and in a good place for this virus to spread," said Rahman. "So it is only natural that it would do that."

PREVIOUS: Florida doctors see 87% increase of COVID-19 cases in kids under 12

The state reported 10,785 new cases among those under 12 last week, almost as many as those 65 and over.

Meanwhile, kids like Ayla Rusnak are starting school – some with a mask and a vaccine.

And even still: "I feel this virus is pretty scary," Ayla told FOX 13. 

Ayla's dad, Chris Rusnak, who is also a Hillsborough teacher, says both of his kids will wear masks at school, in hopes of snuffing the variant from the equation.

"I am more concerned as a parent, even though there is less risk for children, I am still concerned because it doesn't mean that there is no risk," Chris said.

Florida reports that there have been seven deaths statewide of those under 16 out of 270,056 cases, which means the death rate is 0.0026%.