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'It scares me': Some parents refuse COVID tests for their sick kids, doctors say

Lisa Gutierrez, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Health & Fitness

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a relatively quiet winter at Pediatric Partners in Overland Park, Kansas, the sick kids have come roaring back this spring.

They're coughing. They have fevers. Their throats hurt. Could they have COVID-19?

Pediatrician Kristen Stuppy says she doesn't know: Many parents are refusing to have their sick children tested for the virus.

"We've had parents tell us, for instance, 'No we have a big tournament this weekend, I don't want to have to deal with COVID,'" Stuppy told The Star on Tuesday.

"And they're forgetting the fact that it's still going to be COVID even if you don't know that it's COVID. So from a public health perspective it scares me."

So many parents have been turning down her advice to have their kids tested for COVID-19 that her practice posted an alert on its Facebook page a few days ago exhorting parents to stay vigilant.

 

"Sadly many parents are now declining COVID tests," Stuppy wrote. "I do not know why we're seeing this — and each parent may have a different reason, but without testing, we do not know accurate local rates and COVID will be more likely to spread. ...

"Which means your family is probably interacting with these kids at the store, sporting events, and school."

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children and teens who have COVID-19 symptoms should be tested immediately — "especially important if they have in-person in school, sports or jobs, so that anyone who may have been exposed can be alerted," the pediatrics group says. If they have COVID-19, they need to isolate for 10 days, at least.

Stuppy thinks some parents aren't willing to take the safety precautions that come with a diagnosis.

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