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Ballad Health addresses children and COVID-19, updates to testing

Ballad Health officials discussed the potential risks COVID-19 poses in relation to children during their weekly media briefing on Wednesday.
Jamie Swift, Chief Infection Prevention Officer, explained that while children who contract the virus generally have mild symptoms, other risks can be posed.
“In some rare cases, children do require care or hospitalization,” she said.
Swift explained that Ballad has had several children with the virus in the Appalachian Highlands needing treatment.
MIS-C Syndrome is among the complications that children with the virus could contract. This is a condition that impacts organs and body systems, like lungs, blood vessels, heart, brain, etc.
“MIS-C is diagnosed in children who experienced COVID-19, including those who were asymptomatic or had very mild symptoms,” explained Dr. Clay Runnels, Chief Physician Executive.
Runnels revealed that there have been three MIS-C patients in Ballad facilities so far.
“Parents should be aware and looking for symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes or fatigue,” he said. “While serious, if MIS-C is recognized and treated promptly, the prognosis is very good.”
During the briefing the impending flu season was also a topic for discussion. Officials stated that it is encouraged anyone aged six months and older be vaccinated for the flu, preferably before the end of October. October is when flu season officially begins.
In addition to vaccinations, social distancing practices, believed to not only slow the spread of COVID-19 but also the flu, remained encouraged. Mayors who have extended mask mandates to the end of October were praised. As Eric Deaton, Chief Operating Officer, presented the latest trends for the virus, he encouraged the continuance of such practices, noting that the flattening numbers and positive trends are indicative of them being successful.
Updates to testing were also provided during the briefing.
Officials announced that patients can now schedule COVID-19 tests online through their mobile app and through their website.
Along with testing and children, Swift reiterated the importance of staying safe.
“I encourage you to have a low threshold for testing if you or your kids are showing any symptoms,” she said.
For the latest updates on Ballad Health, go to www.balladhealth.org. For inquiries about blood or convalescent plasma donations (available for those who have tested positive and recovered from the virus) contact the Marsh Regional Blood Center at 423-203-5640.