Small COVID-19 numbers reported in schools, with some spikes

By: - October 2, 2020 1:00 am

12 year old girl wearing a reusable, protective face mask in classroom while working on school work at her desk. Photo from Getty Images.

Schools across the state have largely seen single-digit amounts of COVID-19 cases, but the state has not been without its spikes.

In the most recent numbers, released Thursday by the state, cases came from preschools to high schools, private schools and public schools.

Children aged 0-19 represent the fifth highest age group in terms of COVID-19 cases, according to current state overall data on the pandemic.

The state has reported 10,133 total cases for children below age 18, with 242 hospitalizations and 1 death. The case number represents 7% of the total cases, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

Data on COVID-19 cases in children 0-18.
Graph from the Ohio Department of Health.

Franklin County has seen the largest number of cases in children younger than 18, with 2,209 reported cases as of Thursday. Hamilton County follows with 1,087, Cuyahoga with 951, Montgomery with 633, and Butler County with 468 reported cases for those 18 and younger.

Despite only having 264 reported child cases of COVID-19, Delaware County registered two of the biggest school-wide spikes, with Olentangy Local School District reporting 10 new cases in the last week, and a total of 31 student cases since the reporting system began at the beginning of September.

Delaware Christian School had three more cases in the Thursday report, with a total of 26 student cases.

In Franklin County, South-Western City School District had 10 new cases, making 20 total student cases. The county’s Dublin City Schools saw an uptick of five cases, bringing their student total to 15.

Hamilton County’s Southwest Local school district has 16 since the course of the reporting began, and Oak Hills Local School District saw a cumulative total of 15.

While most districts saw very low instances of staff cases, Cincinnati Public Schools reported a total of 12 cases among their staff, with seven reported in Thursday’s data.

Butler County’s Fairfield City Schools saw a bump of nine cases in most recent data, bringing their cumulative total to 10.

Statewide illness onset numbers for September for the 0-18 age range show 3.5% of cases falling to those age 14-17, up slightly from 3.3% in August. Those aged five to 10 represented 1.9% of the cases in September, and ages 11 to 13 represented 1.3% that month.

In reporting the data, the state warns that the case numbers shouldn’t be taken as an indicated that procedures aren’t being followed in the school or district.

“School cases can be a reflection of the overall situation in the broader community,” the Ohio Department of Health states in an introduction to the data.

As the Ohio Capital Journal reported earlier this week, in Stark County, recently designated as “red” or an area with very high levels of spread per the Public Health Advisory System, Walker Elementary School switched from in-person to remote learning after an outbreak of seven cases and more students quarantined.

In Delaware County, which also turned “red” last week, Health Commissioner Sheila Hiddleson said the cases she’s seeing, she said, have less to do with what happens inside school as what students do afterward.

“Parties, slumber parties, just kids being kids,” she said.

Delaware County was moved from “red” to “orange” on Thursday.

Reporter Jake Zuckerman contributed to this story.


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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow (KY) Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.