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CHKD breaks record for number of new positive pediatric COVID-19 cases

Hampton Roads is not seeing a spike in childhood COVID-19 hospitalizations at this time, though local health leaders believe they might be seeing the start of it.

NORFOLK, Va. — The Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters (CHKD) is seeing a slightly higher-than-normal number of admissions for COVID-19, although it's not quite like the previous peak level in the fall.

Ten children are hospitalized with the virus at CHKD as of Wednesday, according to Dr. Laura Sass who is a pediatric infectious disease specialist.

"At the previous peak [in the fall], we had almost up to 20 children admitted at one time. Today was 10. It's hard to predict where we're going to go," Dr. Sass said.  

One patient in the hospital is currently battling multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children or MIS-C, a condition linked to COVID-19. 

Moreover, testing demand and positive results are up at CHKD facilities. Dr. Sass said they just hit a new record Wednesday.

"We had the most positive cases overnight in the entire history of our pandemic, with over 250 new positive tests," she said. 

Those tests come from their hospital, doctor's offices, and urgent care centers.

Dr. Sass urges families to be patient and stay kind to health care workers.

She said CHKD's lab is working overtime because of the rising testing demand. Results might take a little longer than a 24-hour turnaround.

Dr. Sass told 13News Now they are prepared for another surge in hospitalizations, especially as Omicron fuels a rise in cases. However, there is an inkling of hope at this stage of the game.

"Majority of the patients [who tested positive] are staying as outpatients, which is good, which is also matching what most people are seeing as well," Dr. Sass added. 

Health experts continue advocating for COVID-19 vaccines and boosters among eligible groups, along with other safety precautions.

"I know everyone is tired, but there is utility to good hand washing, wearing your mask indoors, staying away from sick people. Physical distancing does help," Dr. Sass said. 

Dr. Sass also mentioned that of the 432 children hospitalized with COVID-19 at CHKD over the course of the pandemic, only one was vaccinated.

And even in that case, Dr. Sass said that the patient only found out about their positive status because of hospital testing protocol — not because they were seeking care for it.