Tuscaloosa, Alabama Pediatrician Makes Drastic Changes After Record-High COVID-19 Surge
A local pediatrics practice is being forced to reschedule many of its appointments to accommodate the dramatic influx of COVID-positive children in need of medical help.
Tuscaloosa Pediatrics, a family practice located just off Old Colony Road near Rock Quarry County Park, announced on its Facebook page that many checkups for healthy children will be rescheduled for a later date. The change is entirely due to the "incredibly high volume" of COVID-19 in the community, which is affecting the demand in the clinic.
"We are experiencing a record high number of phone calls to our nurses," the Facebook post read. "We have made the difficult decision to reschedule well checkups in older children who don't currently need immunizations in order to make more visits available for sick patients."
If a child has an appointment coming up in the next few weeks, Tuscaloosa Pediatrics will be reaching out to their parents or guardians to reschedule. At this time, the clinic asks for understanding as they wade through an unprecedented number of children who are sick with COVID-19.
In Alabama, COVID-19 cases in young people are higher than ever. Alabama Department of Public Health's lead pediatrician, Dr. Karen Landers, examined the data earlier this week and warned that, without significant community action to stop the spread, child COVID-19 rates will continue to climb.
“I am very concerned that the children of Alabama are experiencing more illness and hospitalizations as a result of COVID-19," Landers said in a news release from the ADPH on Aug. 20. "Children can and do contract and spread COVID-19 disease. COVID-19 can be a very serious illness in children with at least 6 percent of children experiencing long-term consequences of this disease.
"Further, at least 113 children in our state have suffered from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome of Childhood (MIS-C), a severe illness that occurs after COVID disease and affects several organs, including the brain, heart, lungs, and kidneys, among other body systems," Landers continued.
The Tuscaloosa Thread reported earlier this week that in the first two weeks of August 2020, 1,356 children ages 5 to 17 had been infected with COVID-19 in Alabama. A year later, the same date range showed 6,181 cases of COVID-19 in Alabama's 5- to 17-year-olds.
As of Aug. 23, The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's full stamp of approval for anyone who is at least 16 years old. Children ages 12 to 15 are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine under its Emergency-Use Authorization, which has been approved since December 2020.
For more on COVID-19 in Tuscaloosa, stay connected to The Tuscaloosa Thread.