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High rate of COVID-19 in children 'unexpected,' says Alexandria Health Department

The Health Department said cases among children under 12 are on the rise.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The City of Alexandria surpassed a grim milestone with more than 14,000 people testing positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began. However, the latest data on the Alexandria Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard shows the city is improving moving up a tier in community transmission from “high” last week to “substantial” this week.  

The health department did remark at the “unexpected” rate of children getting infected. According to the data, a total of 227 children from ages 0-11 contracted COVID-19 in the past 2 months: 113 in August, 174 in September.

"In September, Alexandria saw a significant increase in the percentage of total cases that were in children under 12 years old compared to what would be expected for the population,” said the health department said in a news release. 

The health department believes the return to school, daycare and activities likely boosted the numbers. Alexandria City Public Schools already teams up with the health department to offer vaccine clinics at several middle and high schools. 

Now in light of the spike, both are planning clinics for 5 through 11-year-olds as soon as the shot is approved by the FDA, which is “anticipated this fall” according to the health department.

“They sent my son to quarantine,” recalled ACPS parent Mostafa El Mansouri, “I separated all the members at home - it’s not easy. I was scared for all members of my family, I tested everyone.”

A school spokesperson sent WUSA9 the following statement: 

“ACPS takes all precautions necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the school division and has a learning plan in the event that students need to quarantine.”

According to the ACPS COVID-19 dashboard, 69 people have tested positive in the school system so far this October.

Another age group to watch for are 25 to 34-year-olds.  According to the health department, they had the most infections in the same 2 month period accounting for 380 positive cases. They also have the lowest vaccination rate at just over 63% according to the health department’s dashboard.  One bright spot: vaccinations among 12 to 24-year-olds are high: nearly 100% of 12-17 year olds have received at least one shot, 84% of 18-24 year old have also received one shot.

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