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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mid-South health officials say the COVID-19 infection rate among children is increasing.

As the clock is ticking for many Mid-South parents to decide if their children will return to in-person or remote learning this fall, some states, such as Mississippi, are seeing a number of new COVID cases, especially in one age group.

This week, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves sounded the alarm that the fastest growth rate is now in children.

“The first age group where it’s increasing at the fastest rate is those between the ages of zero and 17, a 33% growth rate in new cases since July 12,” Reeves said.

In Mississippi, more than 4,900 children have tested positive for COVID-19.

“We do have a substantial number of people positive, especially kids in the age 11 to 17 and we’ve got thousands of kids in that age group who are positive,” said Mississippi Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.

This comes as school districts prepare to reopen their schools.

“I believe there’s a safe way to get our kids back in school. Is it going to look like it used to? No,” Reeves said.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health for children between zero and 10 years old, there have been almost 4,000 cases. For the ages of 11-to-20, the number jumps to more than 9,600 cases.

“We are seeing the numbers of children tick up slightly, but I’m also encouraged we do know children do tend to do well with the disease and not getting severely ill,” said Dr. Jason Yaun, an assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Health Science Center and a general pediatrician at Le Bonheur.

Le Bonheur and UT are also part of a schools reopening task force to help advise parents and school districts.

“I do encourage parents to stay on top of that with what’s coming out in the news and think about what might be best for their child based on their medical and educational needs,” Yaun said.