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Mid-South parents push for more routine COVID-19 testing as pediatric cases rise

"Oh my god. This is happening again," said Allison Fouche, a COVID survivor dealing with round two of the virus.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Wednesday, there were almost 500 newly reported COVID-19 cases in children in Shelby County. 486 out of 1,147 new cases are pediatric. That's more than 40% of Wednesday's new cases.

Some of those children have had COVID not once, but twice.

"Oh my god. This is happening again," said Allison Fouche, a COVID survivor.

Fouche said that was her response when she found out she and her two daughters tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time. 

Fouche and her family had the virus last year. They got vaccinated, so being a breakthrough case caught her off guard. 

She suspects her middle daughter Ava caught COVID at school.

"My daughter came home and she was the first person sick. She was vomiting and I thought maybe it’s a stomach virus? I thought, ya know kids go to school and get all sorts of things," said Fouche.

So she took her daughter for a test.

"I took her and I said let’s just all get tested - and we all were positive," said Fouche. "All I can say - the vaccination made a difference. The first time I had COVID I had all the symptoms except for the coughing. This time I just had a stuffy nose and just felt tired for a couple days."

As for her daughter's second round with it, "She was tired this time. She has the vomiting but it was not nearly as bad as when she had it the first time as well," said Fouche.

"Honestly, I did not think we would get to this stage we are now. I thought the surge would be less than what it is now," said Dr. Manoj Jain, Infectious Disease Specialist.

Jain said he and many other medical experts underestimated the Delta variant and how infectious it is. Jain said that's why masking, vaccinations, and routine testing are so important. 

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"I think everyone should have a routine testing program going on. It just makes life easier. You are able to know if someone is asymptotic," said Fouche.

Right now, Shelby County Schools, where Fouche's children go, is the only public school district in Shelby County offering routine asymptomatic testing of students. 

Collierville and Millington school districts do offer student and staff testing, if they are symptomatic or exposed to someone with COVID. 

Lakeland is offering students and staff rapid tests. 

No testing is offered by Germantown municipal schools or Arlington schools.

"My heart goes out to the families whose kids have it and who might not be vaccinated," said Fouche.

As a parent, Fouche would like to see more schools offer routine testing.

And she said after having COVID twice,  "Vaccination works, please get vaccinated."

The Shelby County Health Department released a map with the highest rates of pediatric cases. 38106 and 38126 have the highest case rates, followed by 38109, 38118 and 38114. 38119 and 38120 have the lowest cases of pediatric COVID-19 according to the map.

Credit: Shelby Co. Health Department