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ST. LOUIS – A new report from St. Louis County shows a jump in new COVID-19 cases among high school students for the last two weeks of August.

County Executive, Sam Page, called it an explosion of cases and pointed to youth sports as a source. He signaled that fall high school sports like soccer and football could be pushed back until spring.

People question that kids are attending no contact practices even though there are no kids in classrooms and no sports games at county public schools.

The overall number of new cases is falling though it is still much higher than a low point in June. The number of COVID-19 related deaths are way down from peak levels in April and May in the county but the report shows the rate of new cases for those under 20 is highest among ages 15 to 19, by far.

The data points to sports and school activities that bring a large number of students together as sources of the spread, according to county officials.   

Without naming specific schools the report shows 39 students and 34 staff members tested positive the last two weeks of August, causing more than 600 people to be quarantined.

“That’s from the last two weeks,” said Spring Schmidt, Acting Co-Director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health. “So, nearly 650 (625 actual) people quarantined and 80 cases (73 actual) is a lot given that the majority of schools and all of our public schools are predominantly closed.”

“We are deeply concerned about the explosion of COVID-19 in the 15 to 19-year-old age group,” said County Executive, Sam Page.  “We’re trying to work with advocates for the youth sports industry to develop guidelines that would allow some practices and skill developments that would be safe and would allow some competitions for youth sports that are not high impact.”

The county will soon issue new recommendations and guidelines, Page said. He mentioned that the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHAA) will allow schools to move fall sports like football and soccer to the spring.