NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A record number of new COVID-19 cases in children was reported in Tennessee on Thursday, as the highly-transmissible Delta variant continues to spread. 

On Thursday the Tennessee Department of Health reported 1,800 new confirmed cases in children from 5 to 18 years of age. 

The child hospitalization rate in Tennessee has also steadily climbed over the last several days. As of Wednesday, 61 children were reportedly in the hospital with COVID-19, with 16 of those in the ICU. 

The state health department say six of those children are currently on ventilators. 

Speaking to the press on Thursday, Metro Coronavirus Task Force Chair Dr. Alex Jahangir said the growing number of cases and hospitalizations among children is alarming. 

"What I also don't think we know fully is what the long-term impact [is for] a child who becomes COVID-positive," Dr. Jahangir said. "What are the long-term effects to their cardiac function? Their lung function?" 

Children below the age of 12 still cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine yet. 

If a child in your family is under the age of 12, health experts say the best way to keep them protected is for everyone else in your family to get vaccinated. 

Experts say you should also teach your children the importance of mask-wearing indoors, washing their hands and socially distancing whenever possible. 

If they don't feel well, experts say to keep your child at home until they can be tested for the virus. 

To read the TN Dept. of Health's COVID case metrics click here. 

 
 

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