Infectious disease specialist: ‘We’re going to be right back to where we were in the wintertime for hospitalization, except this time it’s going to be kids’

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — You don’t have a be in childcare or a parent to understand how alarming it is that another local child has died because of COVID-19

However, those who do work with children on a day-to-day basis say it’s even more reason to make sure we’re doing the most we can.  

“We have some staff members who were not wearing a mask which are now choosing to wear one now. We have encouraged staff members from the begging to get their COVID-19 vaccinations,” said the owner of Just Like Home Childcare, Lauren Richmond. 

Just Like Home Childcare has had one child test positive for COVID-19 back in November, but with all the air filtration systems and safety protocols, they’ve been successful in keeping it out of the building since then. We asked what the key is.   

“Constant contact and communication and extra cleaning, you have to have constant communication with who’s in the room to know what is going on,” said Richmond. 

While there haven’t been any new cases at Just Like Home Childcare, Arkansas Children’s said it has been a growing issue in the state. 

“Definitely significantly more for all of us. This is a noticeable difference and what I think makes this worse is this is happening on top of an RSV surge and other respiratory viruses we’re now seeing,” said pediatric infectious disease specialist for Arkansas Children’s Jessica Snowden. 

Dr. Snowden said there are 12 children admitted at Arkansas Children’s, 7 of which are in the ICU. 

With school right around the corner, she worries how large of an issue it could become. 

“The projections we’re seeing in the amount of rising is we’re going to be right back to where we were in the wintertime for hospitalization, except this time it’s going to be kids,” said Dr. Snowden.  

The Arkansas Department of Health said guidelines for the coming school year should be released before the end of the week, and whether Masks are included in those guidelines or not, Dr. Snowden said it would be best to wear one. 

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