Covid Cases Climbing Slowly in Bedford Children

Local healthcare professionals are not alarmed by the trend of Covid-19 cases among children.

“We are definitely seeing an increase in Covid numbers right now,” said Dr. David Geller, M.D., of Bedford Pediatrics on North Road. “The numbers are still lower than they were last winter and early spring but they are climbing slowly. We just had three or four positives this week so far. One today was in a child under two years of age.

Said Kim Ferris, nurse manager at Patriot Pediatrics on Loomis Street, “There has definitely been an uptick in cases in the younger population since the start of 2021. The highest months of positive cases definitely correlate with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, as well as vacation weeks.”

“We are only seeing a couple of cases per week and that fewer than one in 10 of the tests that we do are positive,” said her colleague Dr. Mitchell Feldman.

Bedford Health and Human Services Director Porter told the Board of Health at a meeting on August 23 that although her office doesn’t readily have access to the number of Covid cases among children up to age 12, “Anecdotally, we’ve never seen so many kids in our case count at one time.”

Her department does break down the cohort through age 19. A year ago, that total was eight out of 247 total cases. At the beginning of the year, that youngest cohort – the only one covering a span of 19 years – was up to 59 out of 498. That’s less than 12 percent. Now the cumulative total is 210 out of 1001, equal to almost 21 percent of all new cases.

Another interesting statistic from the local data is: since Jan. 1, there have been 503 cases, of which 151 were between the ages of zero and 19. The total number of cases for residents older than 59 since Jan. 1 is 55.

Patriot conducted almost 600 Covid tests in its office in 2020 and reported only four positives among children under age 12. Since Jan. 1, according to data provided by Ferris, 22 younger children were found to have the virus out of a little more than 1,000 tests. Half those have been identified since March 31.

“Fortunately, none of the pediatric and adolescent patients that I have seen with Covid 19 have been very sick,” Feldman reported. “Usually it’s a typical ‘cold’ presentation, and sometimes there is fever and more of a flu-like presentation. We have had a few patients with a loss of sense of smell. We have not had any patients diagnosed with the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome.”

Geller noted that “the summer was extremely quiet in terms of lower numbers of positive Covid infections. Although we have been doing a lot of testing, we didn’t have many positive cases.”

Porter shared the following Bedford Covid data for the first three weeks of August with the Board of Health on August 23:

  • There were 34 new cases;
  • Eighteen of the 34 were transmissions within eight households;
  • Sixteen of the 34 were children less than 12 years old, in the eight households;
  • Sixteen of the 18 adults were vaccinated.

The preponderance of so-called breakthrough cases “lends more support for the mask mandate” that the Board of Health approved at its meeting Monday, she said. Masks are now required in all indoor spaces frequented by the public.

In answer to a question from board member Ann Kiessling who holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and biophysics, Porter said there is no indication that any of the new cases originated in a Bedford business. However, she added, “most of them said they have no idea how they got infected.”

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at mike@thebedfordcitizen.org, or 781-983-1763


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