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Doctor offers advice for parents as COVID-19 cases rise before school starts

"Masking is something that we should really consider and try to consider across the board."

AUSTIN, Texas — Doctors and health leaders said COVID-19 cases, including cases in children, are increasing. 

"To be quite honest with you ... all of the childhood illnesses are returning during the summertime," said Dr. Dominic Lucia, with Baylor Scott & White, who listed multiple illnesses children could pick up and added, "We expect a very robust flu season. And then you've now added the delta variant on top of that. [It] can be very difficult to know what the child has."

RELATED: Local pediatricians see increase in RSV cases during 'off-season'

Lucia said there's still not a lot of data regarding the delta variant but said it's highly contagious. 

"We haven't seen a ton of new hospitalizations right out of the gate, but we've certainly seen more cases of symptomatic kids," said Lucia. 

As of Wednesday, many Central Texas school districts said they were still in the process of finalizing COVID-19 protocols. 

"We want kids back in school. We know face-to-face learning is the most effective thing for kids," said Lucia. "The pandemic taught us that there were a lot of untoward consequences of kids not being in school." 

RELATED: LIST: Masking policies for school districts in Central Texas

Lucia advised to keep up with washing hands, doing health screenings within schools and wearing masks. 

"Masking is something that we should really consider and try to consider across the board," said Lucia. "As a father of five, I know it's not easy to keep mask on kids all the time, but every little bit helps."

He added following that guidance can also keep kids safe from other illness. 

"When you take steps to help prevent COVID transmission, you're taking steps to help prevent all the other childhood illnesses that actually more often affect children negatively and have them end up in the hospital," said Lucia. 

For a list of what school districts have said regarding their COVID protocols, click here

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