SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – COVID cases are back on the rise in Georgia, with positive tests increasing across all age groups.

Local health leaders are particularly keeping an eye on children under the age of 18. A demographic in which positive cases have more than doubled from what they were less than three weeks ago.

“Chatham County’s rates are up. If you follow the Chatham transmission index it’s back over 200 which is significant, but we’re seeing it in the office, we’re seeing what looks like in some kids, mild cough congestion and they’re testing COVID positive, and some cases, kids who are pretty sick. High fevers and chills and aches, and they’re also testing COVID positive,” explained Dr. Ben Spitalnick, Pediatrician at Pediatric Associates of Savannah.

Dr. Spitalnick says, in most cases, children are much less prone to hospitalization if infected, but that doesn’t mean that’s the case for whoever they may come in contact with.

“The odds of a child ending up hospitalized with corona virus is much less than adults, but it’s there, it’s a real thing and the reality is, the more kids that catch COVID the more likely that somebody is going to end up hospitalized. So the more we can do to prevent it, the better,” said Dr. Spitalnick.

Local pediatricians are worried that next week’s return to school will mean big outbreaks in classrooms all across the coastal empire and lowcountry.

“We significantly are worried that COVID is going to be on the rise when school starts both based on the increased social activity that we have all done over Christmas and new years but also, just this past week the CDC reduced the guidelines for staying in quarantine,” Dr. Spitalnick said. “It was 10 days after you were diagnosed, now it’s down to 5 and what we’re concerned about is patients, when they were told 10 days they were doing it less than 10, now that they’re being told 5, we’re worried its going to be much less than 5.”

“So, we are concerned that yes, as school starts back and everybody brings with them everything they were exposed to over the holidays, that we are going to see another spike in COVID,” Dr. Spitalnick added.

They recommend to get your child vaccinated if you have not yet done so, to help slow the spread of the surging omicron variant.

“In general, corona virus, both the delta and omicron is less serious in kids than adults, which is fortunate. Kids do get sick, it’s less common that they get hospitalized but it does happen, so our goal as pediatricians is to, not just diagnose it, but prevent it, so we are trying to get the covid vaccine in every patient we can ages 5 and up,”

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