St. Louis County seeing most weekly pediatric COVID cases since November 2020

Missouri

Boys and girls sitting at desks, raising hands.

ST. LOUIS – The number of pediatric COVID-19 cases in St. Louis County is rising and has reached a high the area hasn’t seen in more than a year. The St. Louis County Department of Public Health (DPH) says there were 550 pediatric COVID cases in the week ending December 4, which is more than in any single week since November 2020.

The rise is also evident in St. Louis County public schools. For the week ending December 4, staff cases were at their highest and student cases were at their second-highest for the current school year. That is according to recent data analyzed by DPH.

DPH says because the data is self-reported it most likely is an underestimate of the true number of staff and students cases and those in quarantine due to school-related exposure.

The latest analysis shows between November 23 and December 6 those ages 5 to 9 were the group of children seeing the most daily new cases.

This rise in pediatric cases comes at a time when many area school districts are announcing relaxation of masking rules and going mask optional when they return after the holiday break.  The Task Force reported Monday that 21 children were hospitalized.  It’s the highest number of pediatric hospitalizations since the third week of September.  By Tuesday, the number of hospitalizations had grown to 24 children.

Of the 21 children being treated, three of them are in ICU beds.  That’s the highest number of kids getting critical care in nearly a month.   The total hospitalizations include eight children under the age of 11 getting care, and thirteen children between 12-18 years receiving treatment. 

Health officials say the increase in pediatric and school cases is mirroring a larger trend in St. Louis County where COVID-19 is spreading unchecked.

The DPH says the rise is why mitigation measures like vaccination, masking, keeping kids home when they are sick, and getting tested are important.

In St. Louis County, the state of Missouri reports 42.5% of children ages 5-17 have initiated vaccination and 34.0% have completed vaccination. When it comes to the total population of St. Louis County, 66% of residents have initiated vaccination and 58.3% have completed vaccination.

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