TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — COVID-19 cases have increased in children as school reopened, Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch said during a press conference Friday.
“As it relates to our young folks going back to school, we definitely see an increase in our youngsters getting COVID-19,” Branch said. “We have not seen an increase in the Baltimore County in the hospitalizations of our young folks, but we have had another a death of a young person because of COVID-19.”
One of the state’s most recent victims of the deadly virus was a Baltimore County teen with pre-existing conditions, he said, although he did not directly link the teen’s death to going back to school.
Across Maryland, there were a total of 14,384 coronavirus cases in people between the ages of 10-19 as of Friday, Nov. 13. Three people in that age range have died.
There were 6,461 cases reported in children up to age 9 as of Friday. No deaths were reported in anyone under the age of 10.
As coronavirus cases in Maryland continue to climb, the Baltimore County Public Schools system said Wednesday it won’t move forward with reopening four public separate day schools later this month as planned. In a statement, school officials said the county’s positivity rate and the number of cases per 100,000 residents have “steadily increased” over the past week.
But private schools have been allowed to reopen as per Gov. Larry Hogan’s plan.
On Thursday, Hogan said the state’s metrics haven’t changed enough for him to make a call about in-person learning, although they are monitoring it on a daily basis.
Ultimately, he said it’s up to each local school district and the health departments to determine if they should switch back to virtual learning — if they are open.
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said on Tuesday principals were given an order sheet for air purifiers and hand sanitizer to that when schools do reopen, they are ready.
But Baltimore County isn’t the only county seeing cases increase among children.
Earlier this month, Carroll County Public Schools reported a COVID outbreak in a special education program at Robert Moton Elementary School in Westminster.
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Olszewski announced stricter restrictions Friday for residents in order to help deter COVID-19 spread, including prohibiting all youth sports in the county starting on Nov. 17.
As of Nov. 13, Baltimore County has reported a total of 23,682 COVID-19 cases and 667 deaths. The case rate has increased by 150% since late October, he said, and the number of hospitalizations are the highest they’ve been in five months.
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