As Schools Prepare to Reopen, Sensible Steps Are Recommended to Reduce Risk

Throughout the pandemic, many children have been infected with COVID-19. Over the past 30-day period ending August 6, 13,438 children ages 5 to 17 were confirmed COVID-19 cases in LA County, representing 9% of all reported cases during that time period.

While most children experience mild illness, there is no way to know in advance how children will be affected by COVID-19. Many children in LA County experienced serious illness and required hospitalization after becoming infected with COVID-19. To date, there have been 1,866 children ages 5 to 17 hospitalized with COVID-19.

Although very rare, COVID-19 cases among children can sometimes result a few weeks later in a very serious, post-infection illness known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a condition where different body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. In total, over the course of the pandemic, Public Health has confirmed 314 cases of MIS-C.

Tragically, since the pandemic began in 2020, there have been 12 pediatric deaths – two younger than age 5, three children ages 5 to 11, and seven children ages 12 to 17.

Vaccines continue to provide the best protection against severe illness in children, as children who are unvaccinated are more likely to become seriously ill and require hospitalization. In fact, for the 90-day period ending July 21, unvaccinated children ages 12 to 17, were more than four times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated children in the same age group.

Since vaccinations provide the best protection against severe illness, parents are urged to make sure that they and their children are up-to-date on their vaccinations and boosters.

Currently, 35% of school-age children ages 5-11 are fully vaccinated, which is far less than the 79% of school-age children ages 12-17 who are fully vaccinated.

Getting vaccinated has never been easier, as across the county there are hundreds of locations for children to get vaccinated, including 163 mobile vaccination sites at schools this week. Parents can visit the Public Health website at VaccinateLACounty.com or VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish) to learn about locations, and schedules for clinics offering COVID-19 vaccines.

For those who have any questions about vaccine safety and effectiveness, please reach out to your pediatrician or clinician or speak with a Public Health staff member at the COVID-19 call center, 1-833-540-0473 between the hours of 8 am and 8:30 pm, seven days a week.

“I send my deepest sympathies and wishes of peace and comfort to the many families who have lost a loved one from COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “With 9% of new cases the past 30 days among school-aged children, staff, parents, and students are asked to adhere to Public Health safety measures at schools that can limit spread. This includes making sure that those who are sick do not come to school, those who are infected, follow isolation protocols, and those with symptoms and/or exposures get tested. Everyone is urged to wear a mask when indoors and to continue following good hand hygiene. Students and staff should take advantage of the ample supply of vaccines to be up-to-date on their vaccinations. Following these sensible steps helps reduce illness and absences, lowering the risk of disruption at schools. We can also each do our part to support safety at schools by taking practical steps to reduce community transmission since, as we know too well, high case rates in the community create additional risk for spread at schools and worksites.”

Today, Public Health reported 13 additional deaths and 2,335 new positive cases. Of the 13 new deaths reported today, one person was between the ages of 30-49, two people were between the ages of 50-64, four people were between the ages of 65-79, and six people were aged 80 years or older. Of the 13 newly reported deaths, all had underlying health conditions. To date, the total number of deaths in L.A. County is 32,869.

Public Health has reported a total of 3,338,352 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County. Today’s positivity rate is 12.7%.

There are 1,151 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 12,378,171 individuals, with 24% of people testing positive.

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