The Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota Chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics came together on behalf of the more than 2 million children in their states in a joint letter to Governors Walz, Burgum, and Noem.
Pediatricians are deeply concerned about an increased spread of COVID-19 throughout the holidays, which could result in a substantial number of children who may become sick, hospitalized or asymptomatic carriers. Additionally, an increased spread will have a ripple effect on health care, childcare and education communities. Indeed, all families and every community, will be deeply impacted.
North Dakota and South Dakota currently have the two highest rates of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 children in the country and Minnesota is 10th in the country.
In the hopes of keeping all children in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota safe and ultimately be able to attend school in person, which we know is the best way for them to learn and thrive, the chapters are asking their governors to share this simple set of powerful instructions to citizens as we head into the holidays:
- Stick with the basics. Go out only for the essentials, wear a mask, keep your distance from others while you are out, and wash your hands. We know these practices work to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
- Limit contact outside your immediate household. Socialize with only the members of your household. It’s tempting to want to include our extended family members in our plans because they feel safe and comforting during uncertain times, but doing so actually increases the risk that someone (little or grown) will get COVID-19 from that gathering.
- Be creative. Find ways to make the holidays special while observing disease prevention measures. Engage your children in the brainstorming, whether it is a virtual holiday play for loved ones, a surprise snowman left in the front yard, or cookie decorating online. Kids and teens are creative and adaptable.
Pediatricians are still here for families and strongly recommend that children continue to come in for their regular check-ups and vaccinations to stay healthy. If families suspect their child is ill, they should call their pediatrician for guidance on the appropriate next steps.
As medical experts and child advocates, pediatricians stand ready to support each governor’s direction with these methods, and other ways that mitigate the spread of this devastating disease in our states.
Read Tristate COVID Letter.