Fort Worth, Texas,
08:27 AM

COVID-19 Cases Hit Record High as Virus Spreads Among Children and Adults

**Updated with latest numbers

COVID-19 rates are soaring in Tarrant County and cases among children are no exception. As of Wednesday, Nov. 11, over 8% of all COVID-19 tests performed among physician offices, urgent care locations and the medical center are positive for the virus. This is up from 6.5% just one week ago.

High case numbers are being recorded in Tarrant County almost daily. On Monday, the county broke an all-time record with 1,525 COVID-19 cases. This was the fourth day in a row local health officials announced single-day highs.

“What we're seeing in kids is mirroring what we're seeing in adults, not just in Texas, but nationwide we're seeing increasing rates of transmission,” said Nicholas Rister, M.D., pediatric infectious diseases physician at Cook Children’s Medical Center. The overarching theme that children do better with this disease than adults is still true. That’s not to say that some kids haven't gotten very ill, but compared to adults, especially elderly adults with a lot of other health issues, children have done quite well.”

Eight patients are currently hospitalized at Cook Children’s. Thankfully, the medical center has seen no pediatric deaths due to COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean parents should let their guard down.

“We have our cases of children, especially those with multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), who have been very sick,” said Dr. Rister. “We’re certainly learning more about MIS-C and how to identify it. What we're seeing is kids coming in with prolonged fevers or unexplained fevers. We have to think ‘Could this be COVID? Either an initial COVID-19 infection or a child who's recovered from that, but is now having an inflammatory syndrome.’”

Dr. Rister says it is known that children can spread COVID-19 among other children and adults. He adds that most cases among children are linked to family gatherings, sports activities and community spread. He, along with the infectious diseases team at Cook Children’s, does not feel schools are a huge driver in the COVID-19 numbers at this point.

“Schools have done a great job trying to manage this, and we haven't seen the balloon in spread that we were worried about,” said Dr. Rister. “But even if there was no spread within a school, which is almost certainly there will be, we know children will get these infections from their families.”

He says as rates go up in our area, we should expect to see cases go up in schools, especially with many families planning to gather for the holidays in two weeks.

“If things keep going up and it gets harder and harder for schools to manage, they may change plans,” he said. “That's going to be an individual school and family decision.”

There is some good news to share. So far, Cook Children’s Medical Center hasn’t recorded a single flu case, which is somewhat surprising since flu typically begins ramping up this time of year. That doesn’t mean you should skip the flu shot though. Once flu does begin making the rounds, the flu shot is your best chance at protection.

Other precautions you can take to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other viruses include:

  • Wear a mask when in public or around others outside of your family unit.
  • Maintain social distancing of at least six feet from others.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol.
  • Avoid gatherings.
  • Don’t go to work or send your child to school sick.
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