COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — As schools in the Pikes Peak region continue to navigate the first week of students returning to campuses, they are relying on data from the El Paso County Health Department that shows a steady increase in COVID-19 cases in children since the pandemic began.
Children up to 19 years of age account for 769 COVID-19 positive cases since March 1, according to county health data. That’s 13.69% of El Paso County’s total.
A KRDO analysis of the data shows that more El Paso County children began testing positive for COVID-19 a few months into the pandemic. Over the last six months, the largest rise in children with COVID-19 in the county happened from July to August.
“The school season, as we have been discussing, is a moving target. It’s dependent on what our baseline disease burden is,” Dr. Robin Johnson with the El Paso County Health Department said.
Over the first month of data tracked by the El Paso County health department, children 19 and under accounted for roughly four percent of total cases in the county.
The most recent month of data shows children under the age of 19 made up nearly 15 percent of COVID-19 cases in El Paso County.
While the data shows an increase in COVID-19 cases in children, health officials said they are continually monitoring school districts. They are asking for parents to be flexible as the year unfolds.
“We’re making sure that we’re reviewing the guidance and getting answers hopefully beforehand. So, there’s more and more preparation. But also recognizing that there are going to be things that we didn’t necessarily anticipate,” Johnson said.
It’s important to note that access to COVID-19 testing has increased over the last few months both in El Paso County and across the state of Colorado.