Recently, Dr. Angela Dunn with the Salt Lake County Health Department told us the county expects to admit one child into a hospital because of the coronavirus per day this school year.
Officials say high-grade masks are the best way to protect Utah’s youth.
“When school opens, if we are not masking uniformly, we will see a big increase in cases in schools. That’s easy to predict,” says Dr. Andrew Pavia with Primary Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Pavia oversees pediatric infectious diseases for the hospital. He says his staff is taking in several kids a week with COVID-19.
“We are beginning to see an increase in MISC. That’s a serious life-threatening multiple inflammatory complications that occurs about a month after infection,” he adds. “That will get worse as we get further out from the surge because it takes about a month for it to show up.”
On Tuesday, Governor Spencer Cox announced the state is buying high-grade masks for students who can’t get a Pfizer shot. The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine available for those ages 12 and up. The masks are the latest attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus in schools.
“Parents and students will have the opportunity to have available at no cost to them a KN95 mask,” says the governor.
While the state looks to hand out KN95 masks to students, ABC4 News set out to see how hard it was to find them.
We found 50% of the stores we went to had KN95 or N95 masks.
We had trouble finding them at big box stores, but we got lucky at hardware and Asian grocery stores.
Dr. Pavia says because of the rise in COVID cases, it’s important those who aren’t vaccinated mask up around children, adding, “It is hard to see children suffer no matter why, it’s even harder to see them when we know how to prevent it, and we are not doing it.”