SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — In Utah, pediatric COVID-19 cases especially in high schools are rising at an alarming rate
Two children under the age of 18 have died from COVID since the start of 2022.
Three previously died in either 2021 or 2022.
That means five kids in Utah have died from COVID since the pandemic began.
There are eight high schools in Salt Lake County that are in test-to-stay protocols including a few in the Granite and Jordan School Districts.
According to doctors, parents should know that even with the low number of deaths, they should not get a false sense of security.
They said cases are rising and it’ll be like that for at least a couple more weeks.
“The bad news is that we probably will end up with a lot of children in the hospital and it is something we should do everything we can to avoid,” said Dr. Pavia.
Dr. Andy Pavia is the chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at University of Utah Health.
He also is the director of hospital epidemiology at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.
He’s been helping people better understand the pandemic since it began.
He said he’s thankful Salt Lake County has instituted a 30-day mask mandate and added that with a mix of proper ventilation and social distancing helps slow the spread.
“If your child goes to a school where people are not wearing masks, I think it is a very unfortunate situation I don’t have another way of expressing that,” said Pavia.
The Omicron variant has shattered the state’s COVID counts, especially when comparing schools.
Data from the Salt Lake County Health Department shows within the last 10 days, there have been 6,000 COVID cases in school-aged children, meanwhile there were 10,000 cases in all of 2021.
“With this incredibly infectious new virus in Omicron, I worry we are going to see a big surge in infections in schools,” said Pavia.
Pavia said what happens with COVID-19 on the east coast and Midwest typically lines up with what happens in Utah.
He said with that in mind, the state will continue to see higher COVID numbers in all age groups.