Enterprise pediatrician says rise in children’s COVID cases is to be expected as schools reopen

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ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WDHN) — As schools reopen, pediatricians say an increase in COVID-19 cases would not be surprising.

That is because when kids get together, they tend to share. However, sharing can include germs.

“As schools reopen across the state, we do anticipate a slight bump in the numbers of COVID cases,” said Dothan Pediatric Clinic Dr. Nola Ernest. “As for Enterprise City Schools (ECS), we started back last week and we have had 3 confirmed cases. This, however, I think is pretty expected for a school system of over 2000 students. I would expect about 3 of them to have COVID right now, so that is actually not an increase yet.”

In addition to the three confirmed cases at ECS, 40 other students were also sent home due to possible exposure to the virus.

“It is very important that anyone that has close contact with someone that is known to have COVID stays home and in quarantine for 14 days,” Ernest said. “What our schools are doing is when they send home a suspected case of COVID, they are also sending home those close contacts at that time. It is really important to listen to our school nurses and for those close contacts to stay home until we know if they were truly exposed to COVID or not. That is how we are going to limit the spread in our community.”

Doctors consider “close contact” as someone being within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes. In schools, this would include anybody that sat around the infected student.

“If a child was confirmed to have COVID-19, then close contacts need to stay home from their last contact,” Ernest explained. “If during their 14-day quarantine that child develops symptoms, then they need to stay in quarantine for 10 days from the first day of their symptoms.”

In the last few weeks, there have been 90 child deaths linked to COVID-19 around the United States.

“If your relative is the person who passes away, it doesn’t matter what the percentage is, the percentage is 100% to you,” Ernest said.

Ernest commended the work school nurses and teachers are doing. She also said parents can help by taking their students’ temperature before sending them off to school as well as keeping their children home if they seem ill.

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