Pediatrician reports uptick in COVID testing among young children

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As the Delta variant spreads across the U.S doctors are reporting an increase of COVID testing among children.

"We are seeing many more children who are concerned and feel like they might have been exposed, so they want to get tested or they have symptoms. Especially the children under the age of 12 who have not been vaccinated. The concerning group are the ones under two, who are too young to wear a mask," said Dr. Dana, Golden Gate pediatrician.

RELATED: Pfizer, Moderna to expand COVID-19 vaccine trials for children ages 5 to 11

On a daily basis Dr. Dana says 150-160 children are coming into her practice and about 25 percent of them for COVID-related reasons.

"We'll have more results this weekend as they come in. We did send out many swabs to get tested by PCR and that takes 24 hours for us to get results. We are seeing a few rapid COVID positives," said Dr. Dana.

We're also seeing this in the Southeast portion of the country, as a Baton Rouge children's hospital nears capacity.

"We're seeing children as young as a few days that have COVID, up to teenagers, some of them need breathing tubes and some of them, putting the breathing tubes in is not enough," said Dr. Trey Dunbar, President, Our Lady of the Lake Children's Health.

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According to the CDC, at least 340 children, ages 17 and younger, have died from COVID-19.

The latest data shows severe disease remains low among children.

"Yeah I'm scared that I'm going to get it, but I'm also scared that my family is going to get it too," said 9-year-old, Grace Walker.

Jim and Jennifer Walker are both teachers and have three children under the age of 12.

"Especially as we go back to school I have huge concerns about our kids not being vaccinated yet," said parent, Jennifer Walker.

RELATED: Unvaccinated children under 12 should still wear masks, Stanford doctor says

Dr. Dana is urging parents to take safety precautions, "The most important thing is that if they are over 2-years-old they should be wearing a mask. I think that is really important. I can't stress that enough," and added, "The CDC is recommending that you delay travel if you are unvaccinated."

For 14-year-old Emilia Stokes and her brother Justin, getting vaccinated is personal.

"I'm just worried about his safety, but I'm really glad that I have the vaccine and I'm keeping people safe. I just wish he could get vaccinated too," said Emilia Stokes.

Their dad died from coronavirus in April of last year. Their mom is hoping 10-year-old Justin can get vaccinated as soon as the Pfizer trials for those 5 -11 years old continue.

"That is why we have to be safe and we have to be responsible so nobody gets sick and dies. It's very emotional." Said Nora Stokes.

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