Children account for nearly 25% of new COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma, data shows
September 3 – School-aged children accounted for nearly a quarter of new COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma last week, according to data from the state’s Department of Health.
Since the first week of August, Oklahoma has seen children account for a larger share of the state’s COVID-19 cases, Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed said at a press conference on Thursday. During that week, school-aged children made up about 13% of new cases.
During the week of August 22, more than 4,700 cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the 5 to 11 and 12 to 17 age groups during the week of August 22, according to the latest weekly epidemiological report from the Ministry of Health.
This represents about 24% of the 19,645 cases reported that week. Oklahoma also recorded 15 new hospitalizations for children aged 5 to 17.
The state has also recorded 795 cases of COVID-19 in children aged 4 and under. There were six hospitalizations in this age group.
“This concerns us absolutely. There’s no question about it, ”Health Commissioner Dr Lance Frye said on Thursday when asked about how COVID-19 is affecting children in the state. “We are monitoring cases in all age groups, and any increase in any age group is something of concern to us and we are monitoring closely.”
Chief medical officer Dr Gitanjali Pai said that while children generally have milder cases of COVID-19 than adults, they are still vulnerable to infection.
“Overall, so far, the majority of children who have been infected have had asymptomatic or mild illness,” she said. “However, we do know that certain groups of children, for example, those who are less than a year old, or those who may have had underlying conditions could be at an increased risk of more serious illness if they are infected. “
What are schools doing
Schools have already been hit hard by COVID-19 in just a few weeks. Some have turned to online courses in response to a surge of cases. In others, large numbers of students are quarantined.
In Edmond, for example, the superintendent wrote in a letter to families that on the 13th day of the school year, the district had “more positive cases of Covid than at any time during” the previous school year. .
“Entire classrooms have been quarantined; parents lack work; teachers teach both in-person and quarantined students, ”Superintendent Angela Grunewald wrote in the letter.
The district will implement a mask requirement for students (with an option for parents to remove their children) starting Wednesday of next week after seeing how the virus “has spread to different classrooms and grades. schools, ”Grunewald announced Thursday.
The district also shared calls from a dozen local doctors about wearing masks in schools.
A will to hide mandates
A pediatrician, Dr Timothy Krous, said his clinic has seen an “explosion” of COVID-19 cases in children since the start of the school year.
“It is very clear that hiding all people, children and adults, is very effective in preventing the spread of COVID and other diseases,” Krous said in a statement. “We saw this in real time looking at the kids in school last year versus this year.
Last year, he said, even at the height of the pandemic, there was “virtually no student-to-student spread in the classroom,” which he said was a testimony of the masking.
Health experts, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have called for universal masking in schools, especially since children under 12 cannot yet be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Editor Nuria Martinez-Keel contributed to this report.