MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – As the pandemic rages on a new disturbing trend impacting the tiniest and most vulnerable demographic.

Local health officials are concerned about a new trend in COVID-19 cases in Mecklenburg County. More than a dozen newborns have tested positive for COVID-19.

Mecklenburg County health officials are concerned after more than a dozen newborns have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Overall, the babies are asymptomatic. If they have any symptoms, very mild symptoms and there’s a very, very small fatality rate,” said Dr. Ana-Maria Temple, a Charlotte pediatrician.

Mecklenburg County officials confirm that the 16 babies positive for the virus were all in the last month.

“Between one and two percent of the babies born test positive for COVID and it’s still unsure if it’s because mom was COVID positive, because it was before birth, during birth, or right after birth,” Temple said.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, one percent or slightly over 6,000 of the positive cases in the state, are children a year or younger.

With more “expectant moms” testing positive, hospitals have protocols that are put in place including isolation.

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“They found that the best thing that could be done was the babies not be separated from the mom. That the baby be nursed. Nursing is very protective against side effects of COVID-19. That mom washes her hair and wears a mask,” said Temple.

She says with those protocols in place, the transmission from mom to baby has been very low.

“There’s been no evidence to show that the COVID-19 virus is being transmitted through breast milk per CDC or any other medical data that I looked at.”

Any long-term effects from the virus in infants is unclear. As FOX 46 works to learn more about the local cases, Dr. Temple encourages expectant moms to stay vigilant with the 3w’s: Wash your hands, wear your mask, and wait six feet apart.