The one thing Martin hoped would help is for schools to offer more COVID-19 testing. The federal government has allocated $257 million to schools in Virginia for a program that will provide staff and test kits, both to randomly screen for infection and to diagnose the virus as soon as it is suspected.
The schools of King George County, Spotsylvania County and Fredericksburg have applied for assistance, the Virginia School Screening Testing for Assurance or ViSSTA. Stafford County is weighing interest, and Caroline County isn’t interested unless the state requires COVID-19 vaccines for staff or weekly tests for unvaccinated workers, safety officer Jeff Wick said.
Martin hoped that if schools accommodated some of the testing demand, pediatricians could focus on children with serious problems that could go undiagnosed amid the current crowd of patients.
“The concern that others and I have is that we don’t get to the kids who really need a doctor to see them,” he said. “The more the system gets overloaded, whether it’s in the emergency room or our offices, the more likely there will be misses, and that will affect the results, and I’m afraid of that.”
FALLEN CLIMB AMONG YOUTH
In the Rappahannock Area Health District, which includes Fredericksburg, Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford, 7,874 young people have tested positive for COVID-19 as of March 2020.