NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Kids now make up 36% of Tennessee’s reported COVID-19 instances, marking yet one more sobering milestone within the state’s battle in opposition to the excessive contagious delta variant, Well being Commissioner Lisa Piercey mentioned Wednesday.
“We had 14,000 pediatric instances within the final seven days, which is a 57% improve over the week prior,” Piercey instructed reporters. “Proper now, 36% of all of our instances within the state are amongst kids when it’s traditionally been within the 10 to 15% vary.”
In response to researchers from Johns Hopkins, Tennessee ranks sixth within the nation for brand new instances per capita. The rolling common variety of day by day new instances has elevated by about 2,200, a rise of 75%, over the previous two weeks.
Piercey mentioned the most important improve has been amongst school-age kids simply as many are kicking off the brand new college yr.
This spike has raised calls from some well being officers for the state to take extra forceful protecting measures to stop the unfold the virus amongst younger kids, lecturers and different staffers.
Nevertheless, Gov. Invoice Lee has so far resisted such strategies. As an alternative, he lately signed an government order letting mother and father choose their kids out of coronavirus-related masks mandates in Ok-12 colleges simply as a couple of college districts issued masks necessities for college students and others.
When pressed Wednesday if the Republican was contemplating giving colleges extra flexibility to carry digital studying, Lee mentioned no.
“We don’t have any plans to try this but,” he mentioned.
Presently, college students can solely attend distant studying if their district has adopted a selected digital college — which not each district has applied. Lee might authorize an emergency order permitting colleges to develop their digital studying choices, however so far chosen has not to take action.
Quite a few colleges have since been pressured to shut their doorways for days at a time because of the growing quantity of scholars and lecturers testing optimistic for the virus or having to quarantine.
“If you wish to defend your child from the virus or from quarantine, the easiest way to try this is to have your child in class with a masks. On the similar time, I essentially imagine mother and father ought to individually make that call for his or her kids,” Lee mentioned. “It’s a method ahead that may present for parental alternative however encourage the protection of our youngsters transferring ahead.”
Few college districts have adopted a masks mandate as Tennessee’s vaccination charges stay among the many lowest nationally. These districts embrace Nashville and Shelby County, the latter the most important college district within the state. Some smaller college districts have as properly.
Public well being consultants say masks are a key coronavirus-prevention instrument that doesn’t pose well being dangers for youngsters older than toddler age and are best when worn by a bigger variety of individuals. The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention has once more beneficial them for colleges. Presently, solely these 12 and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.
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