COVID rates rise among kids

Rates of COVID-19 among children rose as another child care center was shuttered temporarily.

Rates of COVID-19 among children continued to rise in the county as another child care center was shuttered temporarily.

The School Age Care at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island was closed down on Sept. 29, according to the base. All the children in the program were deemed “close contacts” to the COVID cases. Families were notified and instructed to quarantine until Oct. 9. The facility is expected to reopen on Oct. 12.

In a message to parents, Oak Harbor Public School reported that about 115 students in kindergarten through 6th grade at School Age Care were affected.

Oak Harbor’s public Hand-in-Hand Early Learning Center is still closed following an outbreak among students and staff last week.

The county reported 202 new cases and five additional death from Sept. 23 to Sept. 30.

The 14-day case rate for those 17 years old and younger increased from last week. With 68 minors being diagnosed in that period, the rate is 392 per 100,000.

The prior week, a 14-date case rate of 346 was reported among minors in the county.

The county advises that schools and child-care facilities should keep children and staff in the same small groups each day. Staff members should avoid mixing with other groups; the county noted that staff members have tested positive before students have in some cases.

The county also reported that the lack of hospital capacity remains a concern. The seven-day hospitalization rate has declined in the county. As of Oct. 1, ICU beds were not available at WhidbeyHealth; the hospital reported that patients needing intensive care will be cared for in the Emergency Department until a bed becomes available in ICU or the patient can be transferred to another facility, according to the county’s COVID brief.

While COVID cases among children too young to be vaccinated tend to be mild, health officials across the nation are concerned about an increase in childhood cases, particularly since the emergence of the delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.