Now into our third week of school, I will share some reflections on current community cases, and what we may be learning from them; and post and comment on some updated longitudinal graphs relevant to children’s experience of COVID.
First, we have no evidence that any community case thus far has been contracted at school or a school event.
We are not seeing a concentration of cases in any particular grade or school division. This is encouraging at this point of the year. It suggests that by quarantining community members who test positive for COVID, those who had been around them in school or at school events are not (yet) being infected. This is particularly interesting in light of PA’s distinctive approach of making quarantining of possible “close contacts” optional for families. In self-contained Lower School classrooms with positive cases, very few families have opted to keep their children home, and none for an extended time. Given that a week to 10 days have passed since the first positive diagnoses in these classrooms, the absence of new classroom cases is suggestive.
Families of community members with COVID are reporting a typical range of symptoms, from mild to moderate, mostly akin to symptoms associated with seasonal colds and flus. These reports are helpful for keeping us all informed, and also for highlighting that COVID in children can seem a lot like a cold or flu. This is why it is important to stay at home if there are cold- or flu-like symptoms. We will be asking families of sick students to test for COVID if a return to school is planned short of a quarantine period, so that we all may be sure that COVID is not being unintentionally introduced to the school. We are working to secure some take-home COVID tests to be made available free to families, to help facilitate this.
Again, as with all data we report and analyze, things could change. Yet it is important for transparency that we show and discuss what our community and its members are experiencing.
Last week we posted graphs of MDH data plotted by a third party showing Minnesota testing rates, cases, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions over time. Today we’re posting updates of these. Key takeaways: (1) The recent increase in testing and positive cases among school-aged children has fluctuated in the past couple weeks; and (2) serious illness among this demographic, as measured by hospitalizations, remains consistently low.
Click a chart to enlarge the image.