HONOLULU (KHON2) — Health officials are seeing a steady increase in kids contracting COVID-19. Just this week there have been 188 cases involving kids 18 and under.
On Friday, 43 or the 233 cases were among children. Thursday saw the highest percentage, with keiki making up 27% of cases.
“We are seeing families who’ve traveled to the mainland,” said Dr. Janet Berreman, Kauai District Health officer. “Many of whom include adults who have not been vaccinated and who inadvertently bring the virus home and then infect other people who live in their household.”
For Joey Lee, who has three children under the age of 12, it’s a concerning thought with school coming up in a week and a half.
“I think there’s always a concern, whether it be in school or activities,” said Joey Lee, parent of three young children. “Ever since extracurricular activity started up again and the number of inside participants have increase, it’s always been a concern.”
“While I think the guidance from DOH will make school settings quite safe for our students, there are going to be all of these other associated activities where vaccines will really make a big difference,” Dr. Berreman said.
While health officials say COVID-19 in kids is usually mild compared to older adults, children can suffer from other long-term effects that can appear months after the infection.
“The other thing is that children and teenagers can develop what’s called long COVID,” said Dr. Berreman.
“Even if they don’t have a particularly severe case of COVID-19. When you think about having your whole life ahead of you, you know for my children, I would certainly want them not to have the risk of having long COVID ahead of them.”
Officials are urging the public to get vaccinated as the best defense to protect Hawaii’s keiki.
“That all of the adults around them and all of the people 12 and older around them be vaccinated in order to create a protective bubble around those younger keiki,” said Dr. Berreman.
“So we can take every precaution and just hope that later on this year, the keiki under 12 get to be vaccinated and like the rest of our family,” said Lee.