Utah children and COVID: four have died, child vaccinations are above average
SALT LAKE CITY — Four children have died from COVID-19 in Utah. On Thursday, a girl younger than 14 was listed among the latest COVID-19 deaths. Health officials say there haven’t been many pediatric COVID deaths in Utah, but they can’t predict what will happen with the rise of the omicron variant.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Utah Department of Health officials said there have been only four COVID-related deaths among children. That number is very low, but Spokesman Tom Hudachko said parents may be lulled into a false sense of security, and that there is a misconception that the coronavirus isn’t a major threat to kids.
“There are kids that suffer from significant disease,” Hudachko said.
The latest UDOH numbers show over 1,200 school-aged children were among the newly confirmed cases. There were over 400 new infections among kids between the ages of five and ten, and 575 new cases among kids between the ages of 14 and 17.
So far, officials believe all of the recent deaths are due to the delta variant. But Hudachko says that will change as omicron becomes the dominant strain in Utah.
We will, absolutely, start to see deaths and hospitalizations that are caused by people who are infected with the omicron variant.”
While pediatric case counts haven’t been as severe in Utah as in other parts of the country, Primary Children’s Hospital Infectious Disease physician Andrew Pavia says the spiking pediatric cases in the Midwest are not a good sign.
“Many of our schools are not routinely requiring masks, and with this incredibly infectious new virus in omicron, I worry that we’re going to see a big surge of infections in school,” Pavia said.
However, Pavia said there are reasons to be optimistic. While the rate among adults is lagging behind the national average, Pavia said the opposite is true for children.
“Our rates of vaccination in children in the five to 11 group are substantially ahead of the national average,” he said.
Health officials are hoping parents arrange booster shots for their children too. Especially since the CDC just approved boosters for kids between the ages of 12 and 15.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
- Get a flu shot.
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707
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