Statement from Gaston County Public Health Director Steve Eaton
We’ve had numerous requests for additional information related to school-age exposures. As we mentioned in our Monday (Aug. 9th) update, we are certainly alarmed at the acceleration of cases locally and state-wide. Cases have increased across all ages and demographics; however the overwhelming majority are from unvaccinated individuals. Vaccination continues to be our best chance of slowing this rapid spread.
Here are answers to some of the more frequently asked questions and we will continue to provide data weekly on the impact to children as we enter into the school year. If your child is eligible and has not yet received the vaccine, we strongly encourage you to speak to your child’s pediatrician to help you make the best decision for your child starting the school year safely.
How many children have been diagnosed with COVID-19
- Currently, we have approximately 200 children on isolation (children who have tested positive in the last 10 days).
- The increase in cases among children is proportional to the increase of total cases. Last August, about 16% of our cases were in children and this August we are at 17%. The real concern is that we have so many more cases right now than we did last August as school was starting back. Daily counts in 30’s and 40’s then compared to the 133 yesterday and 127 we received today.
How many were vaccinated or eligible for vaccinations?
We do not have good data on the vaccination status of our positive cases, but out of the 359 cases in children we had in July and August, 19% were age 0-4, 27% were age 5-10, 16% were age 11-13, and 38% were age 14-18. Children ages 12 and over are eligible to receive the vaccine.
Any of the kids hospitalized?
We are not aware of any Gaston County children who are hospitalized at this time. Even though the Delta variant is more transmissible, it does not appear to cause more significant illness in children.
What impact does masking have on quarantine recommendations?
- If a positive child is masked, contacts who are masked do not have to quarantine but should monitor symptoms and should they become symptomatic, stay home and get tested.
- If a positive child is masked, contacts who are unmasked must quarantine for 14 days.
- If a positive child is unmasked, all contacts must quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether or not they were masked.
- If a contact is vaccinated, they do not have to quarantine unless they develop symptoms. Then they should stay home and get tested.
- A close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected individual for more than 15 minutes.