COVID-19 cases among teenagers in Los Angeles have decreased by about 40 percent over the past week and remain well below the summer peaks.
The return of face-to-face tuition this fall has not been without its challenges, but cases have declined since the summer peak.
The current case rate for 12- to 17-year-olds is 132 new cases per 100,000 teenagers, for five- to 11-year-olds the case rate is now 141 new cases per 100,000 children and for children from zero to four the case rate is 88 new cases per 100,000 .
Maria Martinez-Poulin, Deputy Superintendent, Los Angeles County Office of Education, applauded the educators for accepting this challenge with openness and passion to help all students get back to the classroom safely.
“A growth mindset encompasses challenges and the process of improvement,” she said. “We know educators across Los Angeles County face this moment with courage, perseverance, and a commitment to continuous improvement.”
Since the return of in-person learning in LA County, nearly 8,000 student cases and only about 1,200 employees have tested positive. In the past three weeks, cases in all age groups have decreased by about 40%, according to Los Angeles County’s Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
The county appreciates the COVID-19 security procedures that the schools have put in place. Daily symptom checks, regular testing for COVID-19, staggered schedules to limit gatherings and opportunities for exposures, quarantine and isolation to prevent the spread of COVID, and required masks are examples of the procedures that take place. LA County’s schools also require masks indoors and strongly recommend using them outdoors when social distancing is not an option.
There are staggered timetables at lunch and schools use social distancing as much as possible. School districts will receive federal funding from the CDC to continue and implement and expand their testing programs.
“With most of the 1.5 million children in grades K through 12 now returning to face-to-face classes, we are encouraged that the number of cases has not increased,” said Ferrer.
While hospitalization rates for children in the county are even higher now than they were in spring and early summer, they are beginning to decline. Ferrer said hospital admissions never reached the high rates seen during the winter surge.
“If our case numbers don’t increase, we expect a stabilization, or even a small decrease, in pediatric hospital admissions,” Ferrer said. “We have had no other pediatric deaths, our prayers remain with the families and friends of the seven children” [In LA County]who lost their lives to COVID. “
As of September 12, 63% of adolescents aged 12-15 in LA County had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 53% were fully vaccinated, of adolescents aged 16-17 70% received at least one dose and 61% received at least one dose of the vaccine This age group is fully vaccinated.
Most outbreaks now occur in elementary schools rather than youth sports. An outbreak occurs when three or more cases are detected.
“The number of outbreaks in schools is really unusually low,” Ferrer said.