DPH says half of Georgia's recent COVID-19 outbreaks traced to schools

The state's leading public health official said school-aged children are being infected with COVID-19 at a higher rate since schools resumed in August. 

Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey said cases in children 11 to 17 years old have quadrupled over the past few weeks. 

Toomey said the rate of hospitalization in school-aged children isn't at the level of older adults. The data is still alarming, she said, because of the rates at which children transmit the delta variant to others at higher risk. 

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"What's happening is children are getting infected and are transmitting it and it's being transmitted to other family members," Toomey said. 

Toomey said the state is seeing the highest number of COVID-19 outbreaks since the pandemic began. More than half of the outbreaks, she said, are connected to K-through-12 schools. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved a vaccine for children younger than 12 years old. 

"Schools are a site where there is COVID transmission going on and we're working hard with superintendents to try to address these issues in schools," Toomey said. 

Georgia's 7-day moving average of positive cases has reached levels not seen since January. The Aug. 29 7-day average of 6,980 is the highest since Jan. 14, when the state had crested the previously highest peak of positive cases. On Saturday, DPH reported one of its highest daily case totals — 12,223 positive cases. 

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All 159 Georgia counties are considered in high transmission. 

Toomey said the majority of deaths and hospitalizations are still among unvaccinated people. 

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