Dallas County

Children Make Up Small, But Increasing, Number of COVID-19 Cases in Dallas County

Since March, the number of coronavirus cases in children has increased, but adults continue to make up the bulk of new infections

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The number of people who visited emergency rooms with COVID-19-like symptoms in Dallas County reached 786 on Tuesday -- up 182 from the day before.

While most cases involve adults, children under the age of 17 are getting sick too.

"We are seeing it and again. Our experience reflects experience nationwide that we’re seeing children with COVID-19 and some of them are quite ill and some of them require intensive care," said Dr. Jeffrey Kahn Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Children’s Health and UT Southwestern.

Kahn said Dallas County and state metrics showed overall numbers are increasing, but kids make up a small portion of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

According to Dallas County Health and Human Services data, in June, 1,534 children under the age of 17 tested positive for the coronavirus, that's about 10% of cases in Dallas County. That was up from 682 cases among kids in May.

Between March 10 and July 7, 58 children were hospitalized for COVID-19, which is 2% of the hospitalizations.

Kahn said some children who come into the emergency department are severely ill and have Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

"That seems to be a late manifestation of COVID-19 infection and in fact, it occurs in children who may not have had a very bad first infection or acute infection, I should say with COVID who are having this horrible inflammatory disease," Kahn said.

It's a rare but serious complication associated with COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can cause different body parts, like the heart, lungs or gastrointestinal organs, to become inflamed.

"The inflammatory syndrome was something I think caught a lot of us by surprise and we're just now getting our arms around what this all means," Kahn said.

He said people should continue to wash their hands, wear masks and practice social distancing in order to try and avoid contracting COVID-19.

Tracking COVID-19 Cases in North Texas Counties

NBC 5 is tracking the number of COVID-19 related cases, recoveries and deaths in North Texas counties. Choose a county and click on a city or town to see how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting your area.

Cases are cumulative by day and are subject to change, dependent on each county health department's reporting schedule and methodology. Data may be reported county-wide, by city or town, or not at all. Cases, recoveries and death counts in 'unspecified' categories are used as placeholders and reassigned by their respective counties at a later date.

Data: County Health Departments, NBC 5 Staff
Nina Lin/NBC

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