School aged children now make up more than 20% of COVID cases in Alberta
CALGARY -- As more and more seniors are vaccinated against COVID-19, case numbers are dropping among the elderly, which is also bringing down the percentage of daily case counts.
Albertans aged five to 19 now make up about 22 percent of active cases in the province as of Tuesday, a shift first seen last week.
“As vaccines are administered and the cases for older Albertans decrease, it's natural for there to be some increase in the percentage of cases that each younger age group makes up,” said Alberta Health spokesperson Tom McMillan.
Children ages five to nine account for 447 active cases while those aged 10 to 19 years old make up 1,312.
“Alberta Health and Education are keeping a close eye on the situation in schools, and we continue to take a cautious approach to reduce the risk of spread of variants,” said press secretary Justin Marshall.
“We are also piloting rapid tests in schools as part of our commitment to safely continue in-person learning.”
Students at Bishop Carroll High School say they feel safe in school even with the threat of variants rapidly spreading.
“I usually just come in to do tests so i can stay safer and there’s been quite a few cases in our school,” said student Katie Fedderson.
And with spring break in session and the Easter long weekend coming up, some students feel now is when public health guidelines around gatherings need to be enforced, or the spread of variant could explode in schools.
“I think its a possibility but I think people are going to be smart and make smart decisions and not have too big of gatherings,” said Grade 12 student Scottie Smitt.
“It might be a little prone but I think its going to be okay.”
The Alberta Teachers Association says schools are as safe as the community, so any increase in transmission, is bound to happen in schools.
ATA president Jason Schilling believes if educators can be part of the vaccine program soon, it will better protect them.
“Teachers and staff will be working with the largest population of Alberta who has not been vaccinated and that is kids under the age of 16,” he said.