(CBS DETROIT)– In the beginning of the pandemic COVID-19 infections were high among the older population, but now younger people in Michigan, especially children are contracting the virus at an alarming rate, and this has doctors concerned.

“Since February 19th until April 19th we’ve seen about a 300% increase fold in cases of COVDI-19 with our pediatric population,” said Dr. Hannan Alsahlani a Pediatrician with Serenity Pediatrics.

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Dr. Alsahlani sees Beaumont Health patients and says in addition to COVID case increases with children, there is also an increase in hospitalizations. A recent report from the Michigan Health and Hospital Association says at its peak April 20th, 70 kids were hospitalized, up from 42 earlier in April. As of April 23rd, there were 54 kids hospitalized. Dr. Alsahlani says she’s seeing kids test positive every single day.

“It’s definitely surging even more so than we seen in Autumn for the population that we serve which is anywhere from the newborn phase all the way up to age 24, so unfortunately we are definitely seeing an increase and the surge is real, it’s definitely real,” Dr. Alsahlani said during an interview Monday.

She says the increase is due to more kids being back in-person at school, participating in youth sports, and not being able to get vaccinated. As well, new variants that are spreading throughout the state. She says as a mother of four she understands the importance of getting back to normal as quickly as possible, but wants to remind parents to not let down their guards.

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“They want to be with their friends and I would say to just remind parents that we are still in a pandemic and this is still very, very real and to also validate their feelings that this is hard, its not easy and that we’re having some real pandemic fatigue,” said Dr. Alsahlani.

Doctors advise parents to ensure kids still wear masks when in public spaces (some advises wearing two masks,) and continue to practice social distancing. Starting Monday children ages 2 to 4 are required by the state to wear masks in public including schools and day care centers.

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