Health officials encourage parents to mask up children as COVID cases in younger people continue to rise

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — WFISD’s Superintendent, Mike Kuhrt, said 14,000 kids are expected to return to the classroom this year.

As the school district abides by Governor Greg Abbotts orders by not requiring masks in the classrooms, medical professionals talk about what this could mean for children especially as we see a steady climb in COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Kenneth Sultemeier, a pediatrician at the Clinic of North Texas, said he supports school systems encouraging face-to-face learning.

“We all have kinda begun to realize, in-person learning is so important, so I can understand why the school system has really pushed that,” Sultemeier said.

But Sultemeier said there are still concerns regarding the increase in COVID-19 cases and spread.

“We started seeing more COVID-19 in Wichita Falls in children about July first, so we’ve been seeing it since then, of course, everybody knows it’s pretty much most likely the Delta variant,” Sultmeier said.

Sultemeier said though, COVID-19 is a very mild illness in children and encourages parents, if they would like, to allow their kids to wear masks.

Dr. Keith Williamson, Midwestern State University’s medical director said the surge in COVID-19 numbers in the county is bothersome, especially as the demographics of those severely affected have shifted.

“The people that are presenting are younger and they get sicker and faster, they deteriorate so much faster than they did last year and they spend a lot longer in the ICU and on the ventilator,” Williamson said.

Sultemeier said they have seen over 300 or 400 kids with the virus but have medicated very few and haven’t hospitalized any.

Williamson said he hopes Abbott will soon endorse the tools he believes are needed in schools to prevent a widespread of the virus, this includes mask mandates.

Sultemeier said there are currently no COVID-19 patients on the pediatric floor at the hospital.

Williamson said they have gotten reports at MSU of students who are not yet on campus and have contracted the virus.

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