Health experts 'quite worried' new school year will see a surge in COVID-19 cases

NOW: Health experts ’quite worried’ new school year will see a surge in COVID-19 cases

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- As students head back to the classroom to start a new school year, health experts are urging parents to keep a close eye on their child's health.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise throughout the nation, the most recent update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows COVID-19 hospitalizations are up 18.8-percent and deaths are up 17.6-percent as the nation sees a surge in cases.

Here in Wisconsin, Dr. Greg Demuri, a pediatric infectious disease expert at UW Health, fears the new school year could cause problems.

"I'm quite worried when school starts again that people are going to see a spike in cases," Dr. Demuri said. "We don't exactly know what's going to happen, but the numbers of COVID have increased. The measurement of COVID in wastewater treatment has gone up, so we know there's more COVID in the community."

With a new vaccine update expected to be released in mid-September, Dr. Demuri says there are some important steps parents can take to keep their kids healthy and in the classroom this school year.

"First and foremost is to make sure your child's vaccines are up to date. That includes the latest version of COVID, and there's likely a new version coming out this fall, and flu vaccine. That's most important," Dr. Demuri said. "If there's an outbreak and the numbers of COVID or flu or respiratory illnesses are high in your school setting, they (students) can wear masks again. Masks really do prevent getting many of those respiratory infections."

Dr. Demuri also asked parents to monitor the health of their child(ren) to make sure that if they are sick, they're not spreading the illness to others.

"Keep your kid home when they're sick," Dr. Demuri said. "This is exposing everybody else to germs, spreading the germs around schools and schools are basically a perfect environment for germs to spread and so keeping them (kids) home when they're sick is really important."

The CDC's weekly COVID data tracker can be found here:

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