INDIANAPOLIS — COVID-19 cases among young people ages 0-19 are rising. The Regenstrief Institute said its data collection of cases across the state show the number has quadrupled from July to August, August to September.
Hospitalizations among this group have doubled during the same timeframe. Experts said this shows the COVID-19 causes less disease in children, but not no disease.
“In that younger age group where we have fewer methods for protecting them, we need to be vigilant,” Dr. Shaun Grannis, Vice President for Data and Analytics, said. “We don’t have the vaccination for that entire age group.”
Local contact tracers with IUPUI’s Fairbanks School of Public Health said they have reached out to the state health department to help alleviate some of the caseload so they can focus on children and families.
“They’ve got a lot more questions, but also there are new questions about when can my kid go back to school,” Shandy Dearth, Director of Undergraduate Epidemiology Education, said. “What kind of activities do they stay in? Identifying the close contacts, kids are around lots of other kids.”
Unlike adults, young kids cannot isolate themselves from their whole families, so parents and caregivers are at risk.
“Someone has to take care of him and that close contact, it’s pretty difficult to stop the transmission<” Dearth said. “Another reason for parents to go ahead and get vaccinated now.”
If your child becomes a close contact of someone who tests positive, Grannis advises they get tested.
“That’s absolutely no question, and again this is where decision-making needs to be done with the guidance of healthcare providers,” Grannis said.