HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Positive COVID-19 cases in Alabama are on the rise according to recent data published by the Alabama Department of Public Health. Those numbers included an uptick in cases traced to kids in schools.
Hundreds of students across North Alabama have closed their books, packed their bags, and headed home to quarantine over the past two weeks. ADPH said it’s noticing a trend.
“About 8.4% of our total cases, in Alabama, are in the school-age group,” said Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH.
That’s kids ages 5 to 17.
Landers said that data is coming directly from cases reported to the state. They’re not relying on the recently launched K-12 COVID-19 dashboard.
“It’s my understanding that schools are not required by the Alabama Department of Public Health to participate because this is really a cooperative project between the department of education and the department of public health,” said Landers. “Some schools have their own dashboards.”
Huntsville City Schools is showing nearly 1000 students and staff members have been in quarantine over the past two weeks. There were more than 180 in the Madison City School system as of last Friday.
Landers said regardless of cases and trends it’s important to remember many of the cases don’t start in schools.
“Children are also in the community, they’re engaging in extracurricular activities, they’re engaging in outside of the school activities,” she said.
The ADPH spokeswoman said schools offer one of the most controlled environments to keep the virus isolated, that’s if they have followed ADPH and CDC guidance thus far.
“While we have seen an increase in numbers in school-age children,” said Landers. “I do think that the schools emphasizing these efforts are keeping our numbers lower than they could be.”
Landers said COVID-19 symptoms are generally milder in children. However, children can transmit the virus to adults. So it’s important to continue wearing a mask in the days ahead.