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COVID-19 Cases Sharply Rise In Allegheny County Kids Too Young To Be Vaccinated

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - About 11 times more children too young to be vaccinated got COVID-19 in August compared to June, Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen said Wednesday.

Bogen said that in June, 67 kids 12 and younger got COVID-19. In July, that number rose to 157. In August, it jumped to 773.

"As a percentage of all the cases in the county each month, this was an increase from about 9% of cases in June to 12% of cases in August," said Bogen. "Pediatric COVID cases have been a concern of mine for many weeks. I know children countywide are back to school and I wish every student, teacher, parent and staff a safe school year."

The county reported 450 new infections on Wednesday. Nearly 100 of those cases were in school-aged children.

Bogen reiterated her support for the state's school mask mandate, which went into effect Tuesday and was met with protests from some students and parents. Bogen says it'll take a few weeks to see its effect, and it'll only be effective if people actually follow it.

Three small outbreaks at schools are currently on the county Health Department's radar.

"Because this order just went into effect yesterday, I don't expect to see an impact on school cases for a few weeks. Also, its effectiveness will be determined by the adherence to masking that takes place in educational settings," Dr. Bogen said.

Dr. Rachel Sackrowitz, the chief medical officer of UPMC's ICU Service Center, said, "Over the past several weeks, we have seen as much as 19 times more unvaccinated patients ages 50 and younger admitted to UPMC hospitals compared to vaccinated patients."

Cases continue to climb, and the county's percent positivity remains around 5%. Hospitalizations are still rising, though Bogen says they're lower than the surge in the winter and early spring. More people are now dying from COVID, too.

When asked if the delta variant will peak soon like some have predicted, Bogen said, "I sure hope so."

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