UAB Pediatrician encourages masking in schools, vaccines amid surge

Students are returning to classrooms amidst COVID case surge
Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 5:00 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Tuesday we hit a new record in the United States, with 1.3 million new COVID cases in the last 24 hours.

Of course, with this aggressive virus, schools are seeing more and more children and staff get this virus, that’s why health leaders say it’s more important than ever to get your vaccine and wear a mask.

Much of the Tennessee Valley is at high risk for COVID-19.

And with students back in the classroom after Christmas break, school leaders are already seeing the numbers go up.

“We have seen an uptick in COVID. Right now it has not been a situation where it’s so large we can’t have school. But we are seeing our numbers increase.”

Bill Hopkins, director of Fayetteville City Schools, tells us the district is highly encouraging students and staff to mask up.

“Even if it was nothing more then, let’s just say the flu, but you have one kindergartener come in there, in the next thing you know you have 15 kindergarteners that have whatever it is,” Hopkins said.

Speaking of the flu, the nursing supervisor for Madison City Schools says they are seeing flurona cases.

She sent us this statement, it reads: “The Omicron variant is far more contagious than the Delta variant yet many who have it exhibit very mild symptoms. Still, there are many who become very sick from it and wind up hospitalized. Pediatric hospitalizations nationwide have dramatically increased. The stealth nature of Omicron makes it incumbent on everyone to be extra vigilant in the response. Madison City Schools nursing supervisor Bonnie Davis said the district continues to encourage all students, teachers and staff to stay home when they are sick and are encouraged to be evaluated by a healthcare provider. MCS has been picking up reports lately of fluronona in the community - people having both flu and Coronavirus - whereas flu cases appeared down last year. In addition to masking as required by the school district’s mask mandate which is based on the ADPH positivity rate in Madison County, MCS continues to use the layers of prevention recommended by the CDC and ADPH to keep schools safe. Those precautionary measures include following good respiratory hygiene, frequent washing of hands, cleaning and disinfecting; social distancing to the best of our ability, and following isolation and exclusion practices under ADPH guidelines.

Dr. Steffane Battle, the pediatrician chair for UAB Huntsville says 95 percent of her calls right now are COVID-related.

“Viral, respiratory symptoms, maybe stomach upset, headache, fatigue, plus or minus fever so lots of symptoms.”

She added, she hopes everyone affected ends up with mild symptoms, but that’s not always the case.

“I have seen children get very sick, I have seen children in the ICU with complications. This is not just something that is read about in some other major big city, we are seeing it in Huntsville,” Dr. Battle said.

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