Also on Thursday, the Ohio Department of Health released new quarantine guidelines for students and school teachers this fall.
CLEVELAND – As the delta variant of COVID-19 spreads across the United States, concerns are growing about how to protect children.
Fourteen cases of pediatric coronavirus were reported in Ohio this weekend, according to a spokesperson for the Cleveland Clinic. States further south are reporting a rapid increase in the number of children admitted to local hospitals.
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While Emily Timm and her husband are both vaccinated, their two young children are not yet eligible. They wonder how to safely handle the recent increase in cases and lead normal lives as they did during 3-year-old Camila’s developmental years.
âWe’re getting a little nervous again,â Emily said. “We still live fairly conservatively. We don’t eat a lot indoors. We do a lot outdoors.”
Dr Claudia Hoyen of teaching hospitals told 3News that children are the “most vulnerable population” as the fourth wave of COVID-19 spreads across the country.
âThis summer is a very different story for the kids,â Hoyen said. âWe are seeing children much, much sicker than the first days of the pandemic. “
There is no data yet showing that the delta variant causes more serious illness in children, but the growing number of cases is cause for concern, according to Hoyen. As a vaccine for children under 12 remains banned and wearing a mask is less common than last summer, the little ones are more at risk.
âProtect the most vulnerable, and these are our children,â Hoyen said.
Last week, the Ohio Department of Health released its suggested COVID-19 protocols for students and teachers this fall, strongly recommending masks for younger students as well as vaccinations for older ones, including staff. On Thursday, ODH released new quarantine guidelines for K-12 schools, outlining measures that should be in place to avoid temporary isolation.
For example, experts say children and teachers exposed to the virus can continue to perform normal activities even if they are not vaccinated. However, this can only happen if all students in the class (again, regardless of immunization status) are wearing masks and other guidelines are in place, such as a three-foot distance between them. offices and regular monitoring of COVID symptoms.
If these protocols do not go smoothly, those who are vaccinated still do not have to quarantine themselves, but should monitor their symptoms for two weeks and perhaps request a coronavirus test. Isolation is also not necessary for unvaccinated students if the child has been determined to be wearing a face mask and social distancing, but those without protection will be asked to quarantine for at least 14 days. , and those who test positive should self-isolate for at least 10 days after experiencing symptoms or obtaining a test result.
âIn-person learning is very important for the cognitive, social and emotional development of our children,â Ohio Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said in a statement. âDeveloping guidelines that will allow well-protected students to stay in class as much as possible – even if there has been exposure to COVID-19 – helps facilitate this important in-person learning this year. “
ODH has provided a flowchart to better explain what should be done in certain situations: