Greene Co. health officials say COVID-19 cases among young children are rising at an alarming rate

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 10:59 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Cases of the COVID-19 virus are rising in the Ozarks among young children.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department says it’s seeing outbreaks in summer camps and daycare facilities.

Last Friday they started to focus their contact tracing efforts on cases involving kids under the age of 12 to pinpoint hot spots.

“We feel it is our duty to protect the community’s most vulnerable,” said director Katie Towns.

Health professionals in Springfield say they are making a disturbing discovery.

“We have seen a rise in the numbers of cases in that 0 to 11 age group. We’ve also seen outbreaks in settings like daycares and camps and that sort of thing,” she said.

Doctors at both Cox and Mercy Hospitals are sending positive test samples to the University of Minnesota. They say the results verify that an estimated 90 percent of cases being treated in Springfield are the delta COVID-19 variant.

“They do molecular sequencing so we know for sure based on that cohort what our percent is,” said Dr. Gregory Ledger, Chief Medical Officer at Mercy Hospital.

Towns said, “We have moved to prioritizing those cases (among young children) so that we can hopefully control the disease spread among those who are most vulnerable.”

She says controlling the spread among young children depends on the rest of the community.

“We are going to be using the same old strategies that we’ve used since the beginning,” explained Towns.

This includes appealing to people to get their shots.

Dr. Ledger explains how the vaccine cuts down transmission.

“There’s less virus in you. The virus gets in and replicates. It doesn’t replicate as well if you’ve been vaccinated,” he said.

Local health leaders are partnering with school officials on a plan to keep kids safe as the school year approaches.

“We are we’ll be working with them the rest of the remaining summer so that we we can collectively put the best practices in place and keep kids safe as possible during the school year,” said Towns.

Hospital leader say that those being treated and dying from the virus are younger than in the past.

Of those people who died they say the majority of them were not vaccinated.

They also explained that those who died from the virus after being vaccinated suffered from severe underlying health issues.

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