NORFOLK, Va. - More children were admitted to CHKD in September with COVID-19 symptoms than at any other point in the pandemic, Dr. Laura Sass told News 3.
Sass is the medical director of infection and prevention at CHKD and a pediatric infectious disease specialist.
This week Teresa Sperry, a 10-year-old from Suffolk, died at the hospital from complications related to COVID-19. The Virginia Department of Health also reported that another child died this week in the eastern region of Virginia, but hasn't released more information about that death.
"It is very scary to hear," Sass said. "What I would like to try and reassure families is that death in children is so rare."
So far, 13 children have died from COVID-19 in Virginia out of more than 12,000 deaths overall.
Still, this week's news may make parents worried. Sass stresses if a child develops symptoms, the best thing to do is call their doctor.
"Your best course if you're a parent and your child is starting to get cold symptoms is to call your doctor's office. Call the doctor's office and find out what kind of testing they have," she said.
Rapid tests work better on patients who are experiencing symptoms, she said. People who may have been exposed but don't have any symptoms should generally wait five days before getting tested after exposure.
"The incubation period for COVID-19 is two to 14 days, with a peak at day five. For those people who are asymptomatic, getting a test on day five is actually more reliable than getting a test done on day one," Sass said.
If a child is having trouble breathing, Sass says to take them to the emergency room, but still, she says pediatricians can offer the best initial treatment plans.
"CHKD is always here if needed - we just don't want people to panic and flood the urgent cares and emergency departments when they don't necessarily need to and then and delay care that way. The pediatrician's office is always first off."