COVID-19 infections in B.C. children aged five to 11 that started spiking up in September have begun falling, data released by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry show.
The latest data from the B.C. Centre for Disease control confirm that diagnosed cases increased in the first two weeks of the school year, mainly in regions with lower community vaccine coverage. “The incidence within these younger age groups peaked in late September and is now trending downwards,” the BCCDC reports in a data package on schools released Oct. 19.
An increase in testing as the school year began was analyzed, with the rate of positive tests falling as more were done.
“The increase of COVID-19 cases in September was strongly associated with a significant increase in testing among children,” the report says.
Henry said the increase in testing of children included those four and under, where parents were seeing respiratory symptoms as fall arrived. The first cases of influenza and other seasonal viruses are appearing, with similar symptoms to mild COVID-19 infection.
While COVID-19 infections rose, Henry said severe illness among young children have remained low. In the past week there were five hospital admissions for children up to four, one in children aged five to 11 and one in children aged 12 to 17, she said.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the clear connection between vaccination and serious illness remains, with 88 per cent of people in B.C. intensive care units with COVID-19 not fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated people are 40 times more likely to be admitted to hospital, he said.
B.C. health authorities continue to operate scheduled appointment and walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinics around the province. A full list of clinic locations and hours by region can be found here. Registration and booking appointments in B.C. can be done here, or by calling 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. seven days a week.