Whatcom County reports high COVID case rate among children ages 5-17

Oct 7, 2021, 12:36 PM
Masked students participate in a lesson in their classroom. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

It’s unclear if the start of school is the cause, but children in Whatcom County are posting the highest number of COVID-19 cases right now of any other age group and than any earlier period.

The current COVID rate for children 5-17 years of age is about 50% higher than the rate for all adults in the county age 18 and older. School-age children account for about 25% all cases in Whatcom County.

The county health department says unvaccinated 12-17 year-olds are testing positive at five times the number of their peers who are vaccinated. Of the residents ages 12-15, about 57% have had at least one dose of the COVID vaccine so far, and about 55% of those ages 16 and 17 have had one dose. Vaccination rates across sub-county areas range, as the health department reports, from roughly 30% to approximately 80%.

Like many Western Washington counties, Whatcom County’s total coronavirus cases have leveled off in the past few weeks.

As far as what’s working, the county says preventative measures — vaccination, masking, and quarantine and isolation — are making a difference. Schools also rely on ventilation and disinfection, physical distancing, symptom screening, and testing.

Virologist says it’s ‘not abusive or cruel’ for kids to wear masks at school

Children age 12-18 are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine at this point. Find a vaccine provider here though the state’s vaccine locator tool. Whatcom County is also offering pop-up clinics, a list of which can be found online here. On Thursday, Pfizer asked the U.S. government to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for youngsters ages 5 to 11.

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Whatcom County reports high COVID case rate among children ages 5-17