NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — Since June 1, there have been 184 children under the age of 12 in Orange County who have tested positive for COVID-19.
And while the number is small for a population that is not able to get vaccinated, officials are worried that it will jump as students go back to school and mix with others in the community.
"So, as we roll into summer, as we get into school reopening for in-person education for all kids in the fall, we will see, and I'm suspecting, that the number of infections in that age group will probably rise," Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, said.
That concern is what doctors want a safe classroom environment for children and urge those who can get vaccinated do it. It has also led some school districts, like Ocean View in Huntington Beach, to continue to require masks indoors whether or not people are vaccinated.
"This is such a contentious situation," Patricia Singer, president of the Ocean View school board, said. "I'm definitely getting emails from both sides of the aisle. There are definitely parents that are very passionate about kids that have been vaccinated not to wear masks, and then there are parents very concerned that they don't want to get their kids vaccinated, therefore they want us to continue to enforce masks."
Nicole Kennedy, the director of of child development programs for the district, is spending the summer working hard to ensure the children at the school's summer programs remain safe. She said she was also relieved that her 15-year-old son was able to get the vaccine before starting high school in the fall.
"We are concerned, but it is important for us to participate in our community and participate in our daily events to get us back to some sort of normal," she said.
According to the Orange County Health Care Agency, there were more than 650 infections reported in people between 25 and 34 in the last six weeks — making it the age group with the most newly reported COVID-19 cases.
for more features.