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As COVID-19 cases increase in North Dakota, so do cases among kids

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As more North Dakotans test positive for COVID-19, it’s not just adults that the Department of Health says are experiencing an increase — kids are also testing positive at a higher rate.

The North Dakota Department of Health reports so far in the month of September 28 percent of total COVID-19 positives are kids under the age of 18.

“Under the age of 12 that can’t be vaccinated and again about a year ago in August, September that was right around 5 percent of the cases were in that younger age group, zero to 11. But now we’re up to close to 17 percent in the particular age group,” said Kirby Kruger, the NDDoH Disease Control & Forensic Pathology Section Chief.

Through case investigation and contact tracing, they are finding an increase coming out of not only schools but also at childcare facilities.

“The risk for indoor transmission just goes up dramatically. And so I think you know we’re seeing those cases and yeah, it’s not unusual younger people that have school contacts or childcare contacts,” explained Kruger.

The Immunization Division has only seen 32.6 percent of adolescents being vaccinated, which is only one-third of North Dakota kids — but they are noticing that it varies from county to county.

“We would like to see the vaccination rate higher amongst our adolescents as we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases amongst adolescents and younger children in North Dakota,” said Molly Howell, the Immunization Director for the NDDOH.

Over the last week, eight under the age of 20 have been hospitalized with COVID and five under the age of 10.

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