High positivity rates of COVID-19 in children in SWFL

Reporter: Veronica Marshall Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – JULY 08: A healthcare worker test a patient at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing site at the Duke Energy for the Arts Mahaffey Theater on July 8, 2020 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Pinellas County Government partnered with state and local health care agencies to open a COVID-19 testing site while the state undergoes another surge in coronavirus cases. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

Many have seen the recent spike in coronavirus cases in Florida. “The numbers have definitely gone up over the past couple of weeks since things opened up in Florida,” said Dr. Nathan Landefeld, who works with kids at Physicians Primary Care.

He says his patients are no different. “We’re seeing a percent positive with our practice of somewhere around 15 to 20%,” Dr. Landefeld said.

Those numbers may sound alarming but the most recent available data from the Florida Department of Health indicates that that may be a low estimate.

According to the Department of Health, around 46% of kids are testing positive for coronavirus.

While most children don’t suffer from severe symptoms, health experts say there’s still much to be discovered about how COVID-19 affects children.

“We certainly don’t know the long-term implications,” said Robert Hawkes, Director of the Physicians Assistant program at FGCU.

Hawkes believes that is why need to continue to take recommended precautions to protect ourselves and those around us. “We still need to be on guard. We still need to wear masks, we need to protect ourselves, protect others, and protect our children,” he said.

“When we’re out in public, if we’re taking our kids with us, children all over two should be able to wear a face mask. Again, keeping the appropriate distance when shopping and in stores when around others. And it’s really important to tell kids, we tell them anyway, wash your hands frequently,” Hawkes recommends.

Officials at Lee Health report that they are also seeing a higher positivity rate, around 40%, but that may be due to the fact that they only test children showing symptoms.

The issue is kids cannot be tested at every site. CenturyLink is an 18 and older testing site. At Page Field, however, anyone can get tested with a doctor’s note and an appointment.

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