KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Children’s Mercy Hospital is alarmed at the increase in kids testing positive and getting hospitalized for COVID-19.

Right now, there are 11 COVID patients hospitalized at Children’s Mercy. That’s up from eight on Monday, July 19.

The number may seem small, but the increase in the last few weeks has been sharp. Children’s Mercy Director of Infectious Disease Dr. Angela Myers said that at the height of their hospitalizations in late December and early January, the number peaked around 15. She’s “very concerned” about the recent increase.

“We have a much more contagious virus that’s spreading right now, that we are allowing to spread and increase unchecked in our community. And, we may be having a bunch of kids return to school without masks. I think it’s a recipe for disaster,” Myers said.

The children hospitalized vary in age.

“Some do have underlying health conditions. But, some are some completely healthy, normal kids. A lot of teenagers,” Dr. Mayer said.

Myers said the more contagious delta variant is to blame, along with low vaccination rates and life returning to normal without masks.

Some local parents are also concerned about the upcoming return to school.

“I’m more concerned this year because now we don’t have mask mandates everywhere. I don’t believe everyone is vaccinated,” Zariah Taylor said.

Taylor worries for her three young children because she has a friend whose toddler got really sick from COVID.

“Their whole family got the virus at a family event and the son was completely hospitalized, couldn’t breath on his own. So, just to see how hard she had to struggle with that, I take it very seriously,” Taylor said.

Kristin Ruthstron also worries for her three young sons, especially hearing how 11 children are hospitalized with the virus at Children’s Mercy.

“You don’t want it to be your child and, for those reasons, we are taking precautions of wearing masks in public. We still haven’t done a lot of things around a ton of people indoors,” Ruthstron said.

Both moms said they wouldn’t mind their children having to mask up in school if that’s what needs to be done to keep kids safe until all ages are eligible for the vaccines.

“We know that the vaccination is what is going to keep our kids safe. It is scientifically proven. We trust the science and we will be first in line to get those shots,” Ruthstron said.

Dr. Myers also pointed out that a small amount of children experience long hauler symptoms from COVID.

“It’s a small proportion, but it does happen and we don’t know who it’s going to happen in,” Myers said.

She also said that even kids with mild symptoms or who are asymptomatic can develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome weeks after an acute COVID infection.

They said the best way to avoid all of those issues is get the vaccine if you’re eligible and mask up if you’re not vaccinated.

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