ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — COVID-19 cases are increasing among children under 19, and leaders are relying on parents to make the right decisions to keep their children safe and community COVID-19 rates low.
Things like sports, COVID-19 fatigue and a false sense of security could be leading to the increase in COVID-19 cases among younger children, and as we open vaccines for those 16 and older, health leaders warn that younger children are still at risk and can still spread the disease.
“Seeing a little bit of an uptick in the cases, some sporting events seeing as will. A little bit concerning of course,” said Dr. Kristen Christian, Williamson Family Practice and Pediatrics.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that many outbreaks in young people are related to youth sports and extracurricular activities and the CDC director has warned that extracurricular activities “should be limited”.
“The team sports, especially where there’s a lot of kids next to each other, they have to be next to each other to play their sport properly and a lot of kids will wear their masks but many times you do go to sporting events, I’ve been to some myself the masks are down or they’re not all the way up,” said Dr. Christian.
It’s not just youth sports. Monroe county health leaders are seeing more in-home gatherings and things like sleepovers among young children.
In fact, recent numbers show the highest rate of COVID-19 cases is coming from people age 10 to 19, and while many parents now eligible for the vaccine, that could be creating a false sense of security.
“Some of the parents have gotten the vaccine and they’re feeling a little braver and not being as strict with their kids and now, but the kids haven’t gotten the shot so they’re getting infected,” said Dr. Christian.
This doesn’t mean that must sports and extra cocurricular activities must stop but parents must adhere to things like masking and social distancing and to help keep rates low.
“Still doing the same things we’ve always been told to do with the masking the social distancing, luckily it’s nicer out so if you’re going to do play dates try and do them outside,” said Dr. Christian.
The Monroe County Health Commissioner has expressed optimism about vaccine trials for children in the 12-15 age group many expecting that by the summer months or even sooner those will be available.
Leaders say most Pediatrics facilities within Rochester Regional Health are now offering rapid testing for school age children.