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An LA County survey shows that 0.5% of students and 0.7% of staff have tested positive since classrooms opened

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COVID-19 outbreaks in schools are uncommon with few students and teachers testing positive – and a very small number of close contacts contracting the virus.

New data released last week by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH) looked at cases of COVID-19 since classrooms reopened in mid-August.

Researchers found that less than 0.1 percent of students and staff tested positive for the virus over the course of a month.

In addition, only about 0.2 percent of people who came into contact with a Covid patient later tested positive themselves.

The findings suggest that outbreaks in schools are uncommon and that Los Angles County has managed to fully reopen its schools safely.

New data shows that a total of 7,995 students out of 1.5 million, or 0.5%, and 1,193 employees out of 157,000, or 0.7%, have tested positive for COVID-19

Of the more than 30,000 close contacts of COVID-19 patients, only 63 came into contact with the virus, which is equivalent to 0.2%.  Pictured: Students walk to their classrooms at a high school in East Los Angeles, El Sereno, Sept. 10

Of the more than 30,000 close contacts of COVID-19 patients, only 63 came into contact with the virus, which is equivalent to 0.2%. Pictured: Students walk to their classrooms at a high school in East Los Angeles, El Sereno, Sept. 10

The LA County report looked at COVID-19 cases among students in grades K-12 and among staff members.

Between August 15 and September 13, 7,995 students and 1,193 employees tested positive for COVID-19.

With about 1.5 million students in provincial schools and 175,000 employees, this means that 0.5 percent of children and 0.7 percent of employees have contracted the virus since the schools reopened.

“This is just slightly higher than the 0.4 percent infection rate we’ve experienced in the county overall,” LADPH Director Barbara Ferrer said at a news conference, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“And given the massive testing of asymptomatic individuals in schools, this very low infection rate confirms the safety afforded to students and staff on their campuses.”

Health officials say COVID-19 protocols followed by the schools are likely to blame for the low numbers, including indoor masking and universal testing by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

While it is noteworthy that a smaller percentage of students than teachers tested positive, it is not known how many of these students were vaccinated and how many teachers received their injections.

Currently, only students 12 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and five to 11-year-olds are expected to be eligible by Halloween.

The province notes that as of Sept. 16, the number of cases for the age group of 5 to 11 years is 141 new cases per 100,000 and for 12 to 17-year-olds 132 new cases per 100,000.

In addition, over the past three weeks, COVID-19 cases across all age groups of children have dropped by about 40 percent — similar to the declining test positivity rate, Ferrer said at the briefing.

In the past three weeks, cases of COVID-19 in all age groups of children fell by about 40%, similar to the declining test positivity rate, which is almost 1%

In the past three weeks, cases of COVID-19 in all age groups of children fell by about 40%, similar to the declining test positivity rate, which is almost 1%

LADPH Director Barbara Ferrer said at a news conference that the data is evidence that there is little Covid transmission in schools and outbreaks are few as cases continue to fall in LA (above)

LADPH Director Barbara Ferrer said at a news conference that the data is evidence that there is little Covid transmission in schools and outbreaks are few as cases continue to fall in LA (above)

“This is promising, as it happens when students go back to school,” Ferrer said, according to the Times.

“So we’re hopeful, with continued focus on those school-based strategies that reduce exposure risk, we’ll continue to see these lower cases across all age groups.”

In addition, a very small percentage of children have tested positive after coming into contact with infected individuals.

According to the LADPH, more than 30,000 students and staff have been quarantined for seven days after contact with a patient.

However, only 63 of them tested positive themselves, which is equivalent to 0.2 percent.

Therefore, the LADPH said that unvaccinated students no longer need to be sent home to quarantine after coming into contact with a Covid-positive person.

The new policy allows unvaccinated close contacts to attend face-to-face classes as long as they test negative twice over a seven-day period, the Times reported.

However, they are not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities, including sports.

“We feel comfortable that, with relatively low transmission in schools, it’s appropriate to offer schools a modified quarantine option for K-12 students exposed to COVID in schools,” Ferrer said at the briefing.

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