I-TEAM: Coronavirus testing: Are kids more at risk?
Monday, March 23, 2020
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7
AUGUSTA, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) -- For months, the CDC has warned that older individuals and adults with underlying health conditions are more susceptible to contract the coronavirus. But that does not mean it can’t affect children.
A pediatrician in Columbia County spoke with us about how doctors on both sides of the river have been seeing mild cases in kids for weeks now. However, kids aren’t considered high risk for contracting for the virus, which has lead to some not being tested.
Sylas Collins will turn two in April. For the past year, Sylas has been getting breathing treatments for his asthma, but some local doctors also suspect he may have the coronavirus.
When he got sick, his parents called Augusta University Health and took him to a triage tent outside the Children’s Hospital.
"All they did was take his temperature and check his oxygen, listen to his lungs,” Karen Collins, Sylas’s mother, said.
His parents weren't surprised to hear Sylas likely had the coronavirus but were shocked at what they heard next.
"'There's nothing that we can do at this point. We're only treating those who are critically ill or who have been outside of the country or who are medical professionals or family of medical professionals,'” Karen said.
Sylas’ pediatrician did think a test was a good idea and wrote an order for one, but it wasn’t enough.
“We spoke to Augusta University again. We spoke to the Children's Hospital. None of them would do the task, even with a doctor's order,” Karen said.
Aiken Regional refused to test Sylas as well.
“But they said we were welcome to come in if we were severely ill and in respiratory distress and needed emergency assistance,” Karen said.
A new study looked at 2,100 kids with confirmed or suspected cases. Six percent became severely or critically ill and a majority of the sickest kids were under the age of 5.
"Now that we are moving into weeks possibly months in this crisis, we know a lot of our initial thoughts are not accurate,” Dr. Neil Gandhi of Houston Methodist Hospital said. “We know younger folks can get hospitalized and can get very sick."
As for Sylas, it is possible that his parents could have contracted the virus, but no one will test them, either. And unfortunately, the couple’s other son is staying with family -- as the virus runs its course.
"As a mother, it's miserable to have one son here, and one not here,” Karen said.