Cases among children on the rise

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com
The day the Claremont Unified School District opened its doors for the start of the fall semester the Los Angels County Department of Public health reported that coronavirus cases among children are on the rise.

Between August 14 and August 21, the case rate increased 13% among children 0 to 4 years of age, 50% for those age 5 to 11 and 24% among those age 12 to 17. Last week the case rate dropped for the youngest and the oldest age groups of children, but rose another 9% for those age 5 to 11.

As children across the county returned to school, public health is recommending layered protections such as masking and social distancing, particularly for those younger than 12 who do not yet qualify for the vaccine.

“The most powerful strategy for keeping schools open is increasing vaccination numbers as fast as possible. If all eligible children and staff at schools were vaccinated, we would dramatically reduce transmission both in school settings and in after-school sports programs and extracurricular activities,” public health officials said in a news release.

As of August 29, 60% of county residents age 12 to 15 have received at least one vaccine dose and 48% were fully vaccinated, while 68% of those 16 to 17 years of age have received at least one dose and 57% were fully protected.

In K-12 school settings countywide, between August 15 and August 29, the county recorded 5,207 student and 729 staff cases, with the vast majority occurring at L.A. Unified School District campuses, which tests everyone weekly.

Meanwhile, nationwide the current Delta variant-fueled surge is showing signs that it may have reached a peak. Then number of new cases over the last week has risen more slowly than for any week since the outbreak bottomed out in June. According to the New York Times, this has been a familiar pattern throughout the pandemic—cases surge for two months before falling back, as was the case with Delta variant in other parts of the world such as India.

Locally new infections hover around 3,000 per day and the positivity rate remains relatively low at 2.3%. The number of daily hospitalizations remains high at around 1,700 but has stopped increasing.

On Wednesday public health reported 38 deaths and 2,277 new cases of COVID-19. Four people who passed away were over the age of 80, while 13 people were between 65 and 79, 12 were between 50 and 64, and seven were between 30 and 49. To date, public health identified 1,409,545 cumulative cases of COVID-19 and a total of 25,322 deaths.

In Claremont the county recorded 48 new cases over the last week for a cumulative total of 2,684. Thankfully, there have been no new deaths here, with the total standing at 61.

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