____________________________ RATES       _______________________________ ________________________ CCC

Socialize

COVID Cases and Outbreaks Increasing at K-12 Schools

May 4, 2022~The number of cases among students and staff more than quadrupled between March 27 and April 24, likely reflecting the elimination of the indoor masking requirement in mid-March, students and staff recently returning to campus after gathering and traveling for the Spring holidays, and end-of-year events now underway. For the week ending April 24, there were 3,164 positive cases, with 2,544 among students and 620 among staff. For the week prior, ending April 17, there were 1,879 positive cases at K-12 schools, with 1,478 among students and 401 among staff.

School-associated outbreaks increased slightly for the week ending April 30 with 18 outbreaks (10 in elementary schools, four in middle schools, three in high schools, and one in youth sports). One week prior, for the week ending April 23, there were 13 outbreaks (six in elementary schools, one in a middle school, two in high schools, and four in youth sports). Many of the outbreaks outside of classrooms, some of which have involved dozens of students, have been linked to activities such as indoor school events, proms, musical and theater performances, and field trips.

With increases in the number of outbreaks, and student and staff cases, Public Health’s specialized School Support Team is offering school partners information, resources, help with outbreak management, and technical assistance to support strategies that enhance safety at schools and at school-sponsored events.

Public Health continues to strongly recommend that all students and staff wear well-fitting masks or respirators when indoors and requires masking indoors for any asymptomatic staff and students who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. This simple step can make a substantial difference, since wearing a face mask or respirator in indoor public settings has been associated with significantly lower odds of testing positive for COVID-19 and masking requirements in schools have been associated with lower risks of outbreaks.

With funding from the CDC, Public Health has partnered with the LA County Office of Education and Heluna Health to support COVID-19 testing in public, charter, and private schools across the County. Public Health is supporting school-based COVID-19 testing programs as well as providing testing support on site; this includes the distribution of more than 8.1 million over-the-counter COVID-19 tests, provided by Public Health, the State, and CDC, to students and staff in schools across the County.

Schools are encouraged to use these testing resources to incorporate response COVID-19 testing into their regular operations. Response testing includes ensuring access to testing for students and staff who have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 and who have COVID-19 symptoms. If resources are available, schools can also offer weekly testing for those who are not fully vaccinated, since these individuals are at elevated risk of becoming severely ill should they become infected and would benefit from an early diagnosis.

Parents and students are expected to follow the isolation and quarantine Health Officer Orders. Students who are required to isolate shouldn’t return to school until they’ve been released from isolation. If they meet the criteria to leave isolation early, they should wear a highly protective mask around others, except when eating or drinking, for 10 days after their symptoms started or the date of their first positive test if they’re asymptomatic.

Exposed asymptomatic students can remain in school, provided they wear a mask indoors when they are around others, for 10 days after their last exposure, and are tested three to five days after exposure, to make sure they aren’t infected.

Parents are urged to take advantage of the nearly 700 school-based vaccination clinics that are available during the month of May. These campus vaccine sites offer pediatric doses for ages 5-11, as well as vaccines and boosters for eligible individuals 12 years of age and older. As a reminder, vaccines continue to prevent severe illness and hospitalizations, and are the safest way to keep children in school and participating in other activities.

“I send my deepest sympathies and wishes of peace and comfort to the many families who have lost a loved one from COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “I know many people are tired of the pandemic, they are tired of wearing masks, and exhausted trying to deal with the uncertainty and ever-changing guidance. It is very tempting to minimize the impact of the virus to support our desire to return to our pre-pandemic lives. Unfortunately, this would be a mistake that could make it harder for us to embrace strategies that extend protections while minimizing disruptions. There continue to be sensible steps we can take to reduce risk and prevent serious illness and deaths among those most vulnerable.”

Today, Public Health reported 5 additional deaths and 2,484 new positive cases today. Of the 5 new deaths reported today, two were between the ages of 65-79 and three were aged 80 years or older. Of the 5 newly reported deaths, 4 had underlying health conditions. To date, the total number of deaths in L.A. County is 31,982.

Public Health has reported a total of 2,882,279 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County. Today’s positivity rate is 2.2 %.

There are 248 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 11,871,058 individuals, with 22% of people testing positive.

A wide range of data and dashboards on COVID-19 from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health are available on the Public Health website at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov including:

Have a comment?