With school starting up in some districts this week, the worries over COVID continue to rise as do the cases among children. According to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “72,000 cases were added the past week, a substantial increase from the prior week, when about 39,000 cases were reported. After declining in early summer, child cases have steadily increased in July.” That’s a jump of almost 85%.

It was rare for the previous strains of COVID to severely impact children, but now more of the children testing positive with the Delta variant are showing symptoms that, in many cases, require a visit to the hospital. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Florida leads the nation with the numbers of kids hospitalized with COVID:

Florida had 32 pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations per day between July 24 and 30, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adjusted for population, that’s 0.76 kids hospitalized per 100,000 residents, the highest rate in the country.

Louisiana is also seeing a big rise in children needing serious medical care. Dr. Mark Kline, physician-in-chief at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, told MSNBC (watch above) that more children than ever are being admitted to his hospital: “The Delta variant is a game-changer and it seems to have a propensity for causing severe disease in children and adolescents.” Kline says half of the cases he has seen are in children under 12 and the other half in adolescents ages 12-17.

Despite the uptick in numbers, AAP says severe illness still is uncommon among children, but even if children get a mild case of COVD the organization warns, “there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects.”