MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Merced County public health officials reported the county’s first case of COVID-19 involving an infant, a child just 5 months old.
The Merced County Department of Public Health said Wednesday the infant was doing well and recovering at home.
County public health officials say just over the past two weeks they have seen a “four-fold increase” in COVID-19 cases among those under the age of 18. Nine children have tested positive for COVID-19 within those two weeks, according to the Department of Public Health, making children 7% of all confirmed cases in the county. In total, there have been 49 cases of COVID-19 in those couple of weeks.
Dr. Sima Asadi, who is the chair of pediatrics at Mercy Medical Center Merced, told FOX40 that part of the rise they have seen is attributed to more testing being done.
She said children are likely contracting the virus from family members, including some who may be essential workers.
“It really is going to appear like a fever and a cough, maybe some diarrhea,” explained Dr. Asadi.
Asadi said even with a cough, as long as your child is breathing alright and has no wheezing or difficulty breathing, they should be OK. Otherwise, they should be evaluated.
“The top 10 reasons why kids get sick are right here, OK,” Asadi said while holding up her hands. “So, hand hygiene is actually far more important than masking in kids.”
Asadi advises parents should consider a different approach when it comes to providing protection for their young ones.
“Masking is not appropriate, especially if they’re going to be touching their face because you just stuck a mask on him,” explained Asadi. “So, hand hygiene is absolutely 100% where the focus should be.”
Asadi said there is positive news when it comes to kids and COVID-19.
“Our understanding so far is that that 5-month-old or 3-year-old or even 15-year-old is going to do well, for the most part,” said Asadi.
Asadi recommends to parents that the stay-at-home order should not be taken in the literal sense.
“Stay at home does not mean stay inside,” said Asadi. “Children need to be outdoors. They need sunlight. We see all these reports coming out about vitamin D and how critical that is for fighting infection.”