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Surge in pediatric COVID cases demands new testing site

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 8:39 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - As pediatric cases of COVID-19 rise in the community, the demand for specialized testing is strong.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported over 10,000 cases in children under the age of 18 last week.

“With the expansion of the Delta variant, and we know that more kids are getting infected and it’s more contagious, [it] is extremely important now to test kids,” says pediatric doctor Sherif Taha.

“The only way we can tell the exact size of the problem is to know how many people got the virus.”

Dr. Sherif Taha

The start of school and the resuming of group daycares has led to a rise in COVID-19 exposures among young children that are not yet able to be vaccinated.

Parents are then met with the need to find alternative childcare solutions, all while attempting to have their little ones tested in order to return back to their activities.

For children, this is particularly harder than for adults.

Pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS only accept patients three years old and up. So for a local mom of an exposed five-month-old, it wasn’t an option.

Some pediatricians provide testing services, but it is entirely dependent on the office’s patient load.

Logan Keziah-Hamill, a local parent of a three-year-old, took extra precautions for the last 18 months to ensure her daughter’s safety.

After returning to daycare for less than 7 days, she was back at home and scheduled for a drive-up test with her pediatrician.

“I worry about all the other parents who don’t have that kind of support, and I hope that everyone in the community will do what they can to make it easier on everyone,” said Keziah-Hamill.

“Masking and vaccination and all of those things, so that myself and other parents don’t have to be put in this position all the time.”

Logan Keziah-Hamill

Some parents are left to try Vidant Health’s testing site. Wait times have been said to expand six hours.

The Maynard Children’s Hospital noticed the demand of pediatric testing and opened a new drive-up, appointment-only testing site.

So far, it is reducing the burden on local families who value their children’s health as top priority.

Appointments can be made between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, by calling 252-816-3720.

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