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Bend pediatrician says masks protect children from COVID-19

Mom shares helpful tip to help masked kids - and parents - stay calm

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- COVID- 19 is affecting the lives of many, including children (and their parents). Gov. Kate Brown's new mask mandate highly encourages that children ages 2-12 wear masks, with supervision, but it's not required.

Deschutes County reports that there have been eight cases of COVID- 19 in children age 9 or younger, and 15 cases involved children age 10 to 19.

NewsChannel 21 spoke Wednesday with a Bend pediatrician, Dr. Linda Steiner, who said children need to be protected the same as adults.

"Children can get infected, children and teens can get infected, they can get sick and spread the virus," Steiner said. "That's why we as pediatricians are saying we should be protecting our children in the same way we would or are trying to protect the adults as well."

Parent Sarah Antoniou said she started making masks for her children as soon as the CDC recommended kids wear them.

"For my kids, to help them stay calm, I put a bit of essential oil in the masks to help them -- and it helps me stay calm," Antoniou said. "It is a weird thing, and I understand for kids, especially younger than 5, it can encourage them to touch their face, because they're fidgeting a lot. I think it is more on the family and each child."

Steiner said even though adolescents don't have as severe symptoms of COVID-19 if they contract the virus, they, too, need to wear masks.

She said another major concern many have right now is what the schools will look and feel like when students return back in person, in the fall.

"The problem is going to be though, if we continue to see the numbers rising -- in Central Oregon, in Deschutes County, in the state of Oregon, that we've been seeing in the last several weeks now, that is going to push the hands of the schools to not open up," Steiner said. "We have to take this seriously, not just for everyone's health, but for kids, in regards to their education as well."

Steiner said there shouldn't be too much of a concern about difficulty breathing while wearing a mask, or children fiddling with them. She said kids adapt easily, and will be encouraged to wear them if their parents and other adults are wearing them as well.

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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.


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