SD DOH: 12% of state’s COVID cases are among kids, 2/3 of them have symptoms

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Department of Health released data specific to school-aged children who have tested positive for COVID-19, detailing those who have been hospitalized or those who have presented symptoms.

The debate of sending kids back to school during a pandemic has swept the nation. Governor Kristi Noem has adamantly pushed for the state’s public schools to re-open, citing several research journals and doctors that kids are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and argues the risk to children’s well-being by not being in school is far greater than the risk of COVID-19.

During a media briefing Thursday morning, state epidemiologist Dr. Clayton said as of Monday, just under 12% of the state’s 8,444 total positive coronavirus tests have been children in the 0-19 age category. Of the 1,003 cases reported:

  • 0-9 age group:
    • 322 positive tests
    • 4% hospitalized
    • 62% have shown symptoms
  • 10-19 age group:
    • 737 positive tests
    • 2% hospitalized
    • 68% have shown symptoms

The two age groups account for 24 of the state’s hospitalizations. Dr. Clayton says 46% of those 24 cases have had a chronic condition to include – heart, lung, or kidney disease, diabetes, immunosuppressive conditions, neurological conditions, or are either currently or formerly a smoker. He says a larger proportion in the teen population include individuals who are smoking. “It’s a good reminder to talk to your teens about not smoking,” said Dr. Clayton.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of the population of symptomatic individuals vs. asymptomatic individuals is not well known. “Since asymptomatic persons are not routinely tested, the prevalence of asymptomatic infection and detection of pre-symptomatic infection is not yet well understood,” reads the CDC guidance.

The agency also says children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults, based on available evidence and the fact that adults make up the majority of known cases to date.

“The scientific literature does identify that specifically younger kids, it appears that, there appears to be less of a risk of transmission from those children that might be infected to others. So, that would be to their other school mates or teachers or even individuals in the home,” said Dr. Clayton. “I think that we do still need to monitor as COVID-19 continues to evolves.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News

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