More Than 2,000 Puerto Rican Children Have COVID-19

COVID - Children - Puerto Rico

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By Mivette Vega

October 21, 2020

Since August, the increase in cases within this population group has been constant despite remote schooling.

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—According to Puerto Rico Health Department reports, three teenagers with COVID-19 are hospitalized in intensive care units on the island. Two of them are connected to ventilators.

An increase of COVID-19 cases in children has been constant since August, reports from the health agency say.

RELATED: COVID-19 Infections Are Rising Among Kids in Puerto Rico

On Aug. 1, the agency reported 265 confirmed cases of children under the age of 10 testing positive for the coronavirus, as well as 322 possible cases within the same age group.

On that date, in children ages 10 to 19, there were 535 confirmed cases and 563 possible cases. 

The current total is considerably larger. On October 20, the agency reported 1,489 confirmed cases of children under the age of 10, and 988 possible cases within the same age group.

Within children 10 to 19 years old, there were 2,388 confirmed cases and 1,871 possible cases. 

Dr. Marcos López Casillas, research manager of the Puerto Rico Public Health Trust, said the increase in that age group represents 15% of all cases reported so far in October.

The majority of pediatric COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic or show mild symptoms, representing a high risk of contagion, the doctor said.

“Infected children can become spreading agents of the virus,” Dr. López told Primera Hora.

Dr. Carmen Suárez Martínez, president of the Puerto Rican Pediatric Society, told the newspaper that the increase in cases among children is mostly due to interfamily transmission.

“Grandpa, dad, or mom tested positive, and then the children got infected. That is the biggest cause of contagion right now: gatherings and family parties,” Dr. Suárez said.

Last week, Department of Education Secretary Eligio Hernández discussed a possible plan for in-person classes with Health Department Secretary Lorenzo González. 

Hernández said he put decisions regarding the plan for in-person schooling in the hands of the Health Department. 

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“We are taking in all of the determinations recommended by the Department of Health. However, the health of children and school communities always precedes any other consideration,” Hernández told press last Wednesday.

On his end, González said there is a group of parents, private schools, and universities requesting a return to in-person schooling, as many of them have invested in equipment and developed plans to face the situation.

Officials and the public are concerned about the upcoming flu and holiday seasons, as families tend to get together during Thanksgiving and Christmas.



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