The number of children testing positive for COVID-19 continues to rise in Colorado, but the number of children hospitalizations due to COVID-19 is less, experts say.
Since the start of August, more school-aged kids are testing positive for coronavirus in Colorado, though experts are unclear about its relation to the return in classrooms. They have identified outbreaks where five or more cases are linked together in 14 schools, eight child care centers, one summer camp, and a vacation Bible school class.
The state also noted the slight increase in hospitalizations among children, though they only account for about 2% of all COVID-related hospital care, according to Denver Post.
During a press conference Tuesday, State epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said that as of Monday, 10 children younger than 12 and seven between 12 and 17 were hospitalized in the state. She also said that the increased transmission among kids may be caused by other factors like accelerated viral spread or sports and summer camp activities.
“Our children that are unvaccinated are at higher risk than at any point in the pandemic,” she said, adding: “Now would not be the time to bring unvaccinated children to large gatherings.”
Scott Bookman, the state’s COVID-19 incident commander, said that Colorado is prepared in case the children-related COVID-19 cases rise further. In his statement, he said that there are over 900 pediatric hospital beds available, and 28 pediatric intensive-care beds. Only about one-third of ventilators designed for children are currently being used, he shared.
Nevertheless, Herlihy said that parents should encourage their kids to wear masks in school and in other public indoor spaces, have them wash their hands often, and try to avoid crowded settings where viruses can spread easily for protection. She also said that schools may also reduce the odds of outbreaks with frequent testing and proper ventilation.
“It’s all of those things (together) that’s going to give us the best chance of containing the virus,” she added.
Sarah Hamma, branch chief for COVID community testing and vendor partnerships, also said during the conference that the state of Colorado is offering weekly testing to schools in hopes of limiting the spread of the virus while classes are in session.