COVID-19 cases among children in Allegheny County are continuing to rise as K-12 schools reopen, with children 12 and younger now making up 12% of all reported cases, Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen said in a Wednesday briefing.
The virus has spread rapidly through the summer, with the county reporting 67 cases among children 12 and younger in June, 157 in July and 773 in August.
Children under age 12 are not yet eligible to receive a COVID vaccine. The Pennsylvania Department of Health issued a mandate requiring masks to be worn indoors in public and private schools statewide to prevent cases from surging as children return to school.
Cases in Allegheny County remain high overall, with an average of 280 new cases reported each day last week. The county reported 450 new cases today alone, with more than half classified as “probable.”
The county considers a case probable if they are diagnosed by an antigen test or if a person develops symptoms after being in close contact with a case. Cases are considered “confirmed” if they have been diagnosed through a positive PCR test.
“We know that cases are going up,” Bogen said. “We know the Delta variant is driving the surge. We know that kids are getting cases more, especially those who are not eligible for the vaccines. And we know that many new cases continue to be traced back to gatherings where mitigation guidelines are mostly not observed.”
About 71% of Allegheny County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which has helped to keep death and hospitalization rates lower than the spring. The county recorded 46 deaths in August, and Bogen believes this may slightly increase due to a lag in reporting.
— By PublicSource intern Amelia Winger
PublicSource has been tracking COVID-19’s spread on a daily basis since March 2020. More than a year later, in an effort to direct our resources into enterprise reporting on the pandemic and other important issues, we will cover the Allegheny County Health Department’s weekly briefing on Wednesdays and update the numbers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We may adjust as the prevalence of the coronavirus ebbs and flows. If you have questions or comments, please email PublicSource’s managing editor email@example.com.
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