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AdventHealth Warns Central Floridians Pediatric Cases Are on the Rise, And That's Before the School Year Gets Into Full Swing

Photo: Michael Keating
Photo: Michael Keating

AdventHealth doctors are pleading with Central Floridians to get vaccinated and mask up to protect children under 12 as the number of pediatric cases rises in the state. 

There are currently a dozen children who are sick with COVID-19 at AdventHealth Central Florida’s hospitals, the highest number since the start of the pandemic, which includes 16 hospitals in 6 counties. 

AdventHealth Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Keating says most have COVID pneumonia and at the very least are on supplemental oxygen, steroids and Remdesivir. 

Keating says it’s crucial for eligible people to get the shot and for everyone including children in school to mask up in order to prevent a surge in pediatric cases. 

“The Delta variant came in guess what happened this hospital is filled with patients over 90 percent of whom have never been vaccinated. Well guess what if we get a third generation and it’s more aggressive because that’s what viruses tend to do. Whose most at risk now? The children.”

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In the last year, Keating says staff have treated 60 cases of multi inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C that present in children weeks after a COVID infection.

He says this can cause system-wide organ failure in children.

“I wish there were none and there was a time when there was none when we were doing the right things last year. And we were masking and we were socially distancing. We were keeping everybody safe. We’ve got to get back to that, because really things really haven’t changed.”

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Keating says even infants have tested positive and gotten sick with COVID during this latest surge. 

He’s worried the next variant could hit children especially hard if more people don’t get vaccinated. 

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.