Local hospital leaders weigh in on back to school virus concerns

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 5:22 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Kids in Cedar Rapids will head back to school on Monday as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Linn County.

Cases have been increasing throughout the month of August. The majority of them are among adults, but not all.

UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital currently has one pediatric COVID-19 patient. Dr. Tony Myers, the vice president of medical affairs at Mercy Medical Center, said this week their hospital has seen COVID-19 cases among children as well.

”Most of the children that have gotten COVID that we’ve admitted luckily have not had it severely. We’ve had a few children that did have it bad enough that we had to transfer to the University,” Myers said.

Children under 12 are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines and state law set forth by Gov. Kim Reynolds does not allow schools to require masks.

KCRG-TV9 asked Dr. Dustin Arnold, chief medical officer at St. Luke’s, if he’s concerned for the upcoming school year.

”What I can say is, last spring, but this didn’t include the delta variant so that’s the big question mark, Xavier Catholic Schools were in person. Kids were supposed to wear a masks, you know that they didn’t you know or wear it appropriately, and we didn’t see a big spike,” Arnold said.

Unfortunately, it’s not just the Delta variant parents have to worry about this year, as Myers said the respiratory virus RSV has been spiking among children lately.

“The combination of the RSV and the COVID coming up on going back to school is very concerning,” Myers said.

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