Duval County

DCPS elementary children account for six out of seven new student COVID cases

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — There’s a concerning trend within new COVID cases that pediatricians predicted: most of these cases are affecting elementary students.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, there are 10 new COVID cases across Duval County Public Schools. There’s a concerning trend within those cases that pediatricians predicted: most of these cases are affecting elementary students.

Specifically, six out of seven student cases are elementary-school age.

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“What was your reaction to seeing six out of seven cases across DCPS schools are elementary school students?” Action News Jax reporter Jessica Barreto asked Dr. Adriana Cantville, a pediatric hospitalist with UFHealth.

“You know, unfortunately, I wish I could say it was different, but this is completely predictable,” she said.

Dr. Cantville says this is because children under 12 aren’t eligible to get vaccinated, and that puts them at risk of getting infected with the COVID delta strain.

“It’s a game-changer. It’s a beast of a virus,” she said of this predominant strain of the virus.

“It is affecting kids and they’re becoming not just mildly ill but moderately and even severely ill. We’ve had multiple children requiring hospitalizations.”

You can read information from the CDC on the delta variant here.

Dr. Cantville can relate to parents who are concerned because she has a 4 and 6-year-old at home.

“I’m not just speaking from the point of view of a pediatrician, but also as a mom,” she pointed out.

“I’m scared just like all the other parents are,” she admitted.

But she wants to share ways to protect children. Surrounding them with vaccinated adults can prevent the spread, and so can masks.

“My mask protects me a little bit, but what it’s much better at is protecting you,” she explained.

“We have to all come together to do everything we can to protect our children.”

Dr. Cantville says she urges parents to talk to their child’s pediatrician if they have any questions or concerns.

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“We have a lot of very good questions from parents, please I urge parents to discuss it with their pediatrician,” she emphasized.

“[They can] have all their questions and concerns answered from a good, reliable source: somebody who really values your child’s health.”

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