COVID-19 symptoms have evolved in sixth wave: expert

COVID-19 has evolved in the sixth wave, presenting new symptoms among those infected, making it even more challenging to pinpoint the virus.

Dr. Charmaine van Schaik, former Chief of Pediatrics at Southlake Regional Hospital in Newmarket, said children have presented with a wide range of symptoms lately.

In the early stage of the pandemic, most would lose taste or smell and come down with a high fever after becoming infected.

In recent weeks, Dr. van Schaik said symptoms that parents might see in general with a sick child could now be COVID-19.

"A lot of what we're hearing and seeing is fatigue. It's those runny noses, mild congestive symptoms and sometimes some gastrointestinal symptoms with vomiting and diarrhea."

Based on data, COVID-19 is still rapidly spreading in parts of the province. Still, many experts believe Ontario has reached the peak of the sixth wave.

MYSTERY LIVER ILLNESS IN CHILDREN

Health officials worldwide report children are developing severe cases of hepatitis with no known cause, something an Ontario pediatrician says remains a mystery.

While no cases had been discovered in Canada, Dr. van Schaik said it's possible there may have been cases, but officials are still learning as information becomes available.

"I suspect we've seen some [cases], and we're just in that process of identifying them more specifically. There's very little known of the etiology."

She notes that it remains unclear what is causing the severe cases and that experts are exploring a possible COVID-19 infection relationship, "but we really don't know at the present time."

Symptoms could include vomiting and diarrhea and then, in the days and weeks to follow, jaundice, which Dr. van Schaik said consists of the yellowing of skin and eyes.

If symptoms occur, Dr. van Schaik suggested seeking medical attention.

MENTAL HEALTH AMONG KIDS

Meanwhile, the pediatrician said mental health among children has benefitted from being back to in-person learning and face-to-face socializing.

Following weeks of online learning and isolation from their peers, the mental health of children and youths became a serious topic among officials.

Dr. van Schaik said the return to the classroom "helps bring things back to normal as much as possible."