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COVID-19 Cases Rising In Kids As Students Head Back To School

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - COVID-19 cases are rising, especially in kids, as students return to school. In Allegheny County and throughout the region, the cases have spiked among young people under the age of 18.

Friday night football games across southwestern Pennsylvania have been canceled due to outbreaks of the virus.

High school football with all its pomp and excitement returns to southwestern Pennsylvania but several teams will be watching from the sidelines. At least four games won't be played: Beaver at Central Valley, Riverview at Chartiers-Houston, Butler at Erie and Moniteau at Central Clarion. All were canceled due to recent spikes in COVID among returning school students.

"I am very concerned. It's something that needs to be addressed," said one parent.

Parents at Marshall Middle School have reason to be. Three more students reported having COVID Friday, bringing the total to 23. In the North Allegheny School District, there are currently 37 active cases, five of them reported just Friday. In the nearby North Hills School District, there are 16 active cases, 11 at its elementary schools, including four at West Elementary.

As kids return to school, we're seeing a spike in COVID among the very young.

"For the past few weeks, there has been an increase in the number of cases among children ages 5 to 11 years. This is taking place just as younger residents are starting back to school," said Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen.

The delta variant has been spreading quickly, especially among children under 12 who cannot be vaccinated. Just in the last 24 hours in Allegheny County, there are 32 new cases among kids 5 to 12 years old and a total of 65 cases among those 18 and younger. By comparison, those numbers were in the single digits in June and July.

All of this has some parents worried about sending their kids to school, though pediatrician Ned Ketyer says they can return safely if they're not immunocompromised and everyone wears a mask.

"Then I think the choice to send the child to school is the right one for that family," said Ketyer.

Andrea Cloutier wants everyone to get behind those steps and for the divisions to end.

"If people took this simple step we wouldn't be in the situation we're in. Just wear a mask and get your kid vaccinated if they're able to be vaccinated. And get yourself vaccinated. It's as simple as that," said Cloutier.

"The good news is that most kids who are healthy have no symptoms at all," said Ketyer.

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