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Dane County public health officials highlight early COVID-19 trends in schools

Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 6:46 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2021 at 10:22 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Nearly one month since area students returned to their classrooms, Dane County public health officials are tracking changes in the level of infection among children.

According to Public Health Madison Dane County, about 257 Dane County residents reportedly attended school while infected with COVID-19 or attended shortly before becoming infected. This is from PHMDC data focusing on August 25 through September 17.

To put that into perspective, that’s out of roughly 75,000 K-12 students enrolled in Dane County public schools this year. Public health officials say while cases are higher among children than they were last year, they’re still not as high as they were during late fall of 2020 when vaccines were not available to the general public and students were learning virtually.

Dane County officials say this is an early sign COVID-19 mitigation efforts in schools are working.

“Everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated, should get vaccinated, that’s one way to help protect kids,” said Amanda Kita-Yarbro, PHMDC Epidemiologist. “Parents usually don’t know who their kids are in contact with during the day at school, or even if they did how to get in touch with those families. So that’s where schools are such a crucial partner in helping to control COVID in the community.”

Public health officials say contact tracing can be difficult when COVID-19 shows up in schools. Since most children are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, officials say parents who are vaccinated provide an extra level of protection for their kids.

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