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Friday, October 8, 2021

COVID-19 cases in K-12 schools now account for more than half of Michigan's outbreaks

Posted By on Fri, Oct 8, 2021 at 10:23 AM

click to enlarge Fortunately, COVID-19 is unlikely to result in hospitalization in kids, but it can cause severe problems in some. - SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Fortunately, COVID-19 is unlikely to result in hospitalization in kids, but it can cause severe problems in some.

COVID-19 cases in K-12 schools accounted for 56% of all recorded new outbreaks in Michigan last week, according to state health department data reported by the Detroit Free Press. As a result, more than 375 children under 12 were infected each day. And while COVID-19 cases have been dropping in the U.S. for the past three months, they've been rising in Michigan.

According to state data, there are outbreaks in 104 schools. Fortunately, COVID-19 is unlikely to result in hospitalization in kids, but it can cause severe problems in some. The outbreaks are causing some schools to resort to temporarily close for in-person classes.

Michigan no longer has a mask mandate for public schools, and as of this week only 222 school districts statewide had mask rules in place, compared to 311 that don't.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state health department recommend but don't require wearing masks indoors in places where coronavirus transmission is high or substantial.

Michigan's data shows the rise in cases was steeper in the first few weeks of the school year in districts without consistent mask requirements. But the new statewide budget included language that threatened to strip state funding from local health departments that imposed school mask mandates under the public health code.

As a result, more than 30 schools dropped their mask requirements. Last month, the Michigan Association for Local Public Health called on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director Elizabeth Hertel to issue a statewide school mask mandate.

Only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is approved for use in children ages 12 and older under an emergency use authorization, though the company asked federal regulators on Thursday to allow the vaccine to be given to 5-11-year-olds.

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