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Children hospitalized with COVID in Sacramento County at or near record high

Nevertheless, school officials say keeping schools open is a priority

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — Two numbers in Sacramento County highlight the current gravity of the pandemic, the total number of hospitalizations and the number of children hospitalized. Both are at or near record highs.

ABC10’s Mike Duffy spoke with Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) and Sacramento County Public Health to gauge where things stand.

Victoria Flores, the director of Student Support and Health Services at SCUSD, says infections continue to rise.

“As we see those case counts rise in the county, we are definitely seeing those reflected in the schools," Flores said.

She said they’ve seen a sharp increase in cases, but cases seemed to have stabilized.

“We expect this week we’ll likely kind of stay the same right there, and we’re hopeful we’ll start to see this come down soon,” Flores said.

According to SCUSD’s COVID-19 dashboard, as of Monday there were 396 active cases in the school district ,and there have been 1,373 total cases in January alone.

“At this time, we’re not entertaining any school closures because of the numbers,” Flores said.

She said weekly testing allows the school district to feel like it has a good read on what’s happening.

The latest numbers from the Sacramento County Department of Public Health revealed that as of Sunday, 22 children were hospitalized, 6 were in the ICU and 4 were on ventilators from COVID.

Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said it is important to keep in mind what is different this time around in addition to the variant.

“Previous surges, schools were in distance learning, and when they did start in-person learning, there were a lot of measures such as distance -- keeping 6 feet distance -- and so that reduced the risk. This year, the schools are back in full session, and the only things that we have to protect the children are vaccinations and masking,” Dr. Kasirye said.

However, she explained she had seen some signs of improvement when it comes to new infections.

“It does show some early indications of slowing down. The end of last week, our case rate had gone above 200, to 202. And the update we got today, it’s 187,” Dr. Kasirye said.

ICU admissions are also lower than previous records, but she said it was not time to celebrate yet.

“We are hoping that it will stay that way in terms of the ICU admissions continuing to stay around 80 (or) 90. But again, it’s still a little early to tell because we know that the hospitalizations is a lagging indicator and deaths are a lagging indicator as well. So we’re not out of the woods yet,” Dr. Kasirye said.


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