ATLANTA (CBS46) — COVID-19 hospitalizations of children in metro Atlanta has risen dramatically in the last week.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta says it currently has 118 patients in its hospitals due to COVID-19. Of those children, 74% have at least one pre-existing medical condition.

This is an increase from Dec. 28 when there were 62 children hospitalized. On Dec. 21, there was 22 children hospitalized.

Before Jan. 5, the date with the most children hospitalized was Aug. 31, 2021 (69).

According to CHOA, despite the number of children who are currently hospitalized, cases among kids and teens is relatively low. Most children who are coming into their emergency department and test positive for COVID-19 are being released and sent home to recover.

For the 2-week period ending Dec. 26, there were 310 children between ages 0-4 who tested positive for COVID-19; 441 between the ages 5-10; and 740 between the ages 11-17.

The American Academy of Pediatrics confirms cases among children have more than doubled in one week's time and according to CNN, hospitals across the country are seeing a surge of children requiring hospitalization.  

Last week, an average of 574 children were admitted to hospitals every day, according to the CDC. More than 325,000 cases among kids were reported in the week leading up to Dec. 30. 

“As many more children will get infected, a certain proportion of them – usually children that have underlying comorbidities – are going to wind up in the hospital,” infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said during a press briefing. “That is just an inevitability.”

Doctors says anyone who has is congested and has a fever and sore throat is probably positive. However, children are more likely in general to be asymptomatic and can be silent spreaders.

The CHOA is asking parents to take their child or children to a community testing site if they only have mild symptoms or no symptoms. Children, like adults, should only go to a hospital if they need urgent medical attention.

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