ATLANTA (CBS46) -- The COVID caseload is up at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta but even still that number is low.

Dr. Jim Fortenberry is the Chief Medical Officer at Children’s and said they are currently caring for an average of 13-20 COVID patients a day between all three of their hospitals.

“What we have not seen is a specific increase in severity of illness in children overall,” Fortenberry said. “Thankfully most children who have a COVID 19 infection, the overwhelming majority have minimal or very mild symptoms. Of those 13-20 patients, a great majority of them have an underlying illness such as Cancer, Diabetes, Asthma or Sickle Cell Disease.”

On Thursday, the Emergency Room wait time at Children's Egleston Hospital is more than 2-hours. Health officials said the long wait is due primarily to parents taking their children to the ER to be tested for the virus.

“What we are trying to encourage families to do is if your child just needs testing or your concern is that he or she was exposed to the virus to utilize community testing sites,” Fortenberry said.

Lastly, Dr. Fortenberry said it's important for children ages 12 and up to get vaccinated, calling it the best line of defense.

“It’s really important to note that of the vaccine eligible patients that get admitted to our hospital, about 90-percent of them are unvaccinated,” Fortenberry said.

Fortenberry went on to say their COVID caseload is manageable, and they have plenty of bed space. In fact, he said they’re seeing more cases of RSV and common cold in children right now.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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