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More kids hospitalized due to COVID-19 as schools prepare to return to in-person learning

children covid vaccine
Cincinnati Children's
Verity, age 8, holds up a sign after getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at Cincinnati Children's in November 2021. In Hamilton County, slightly more than 30% of people aged 19 and under have received a vaccine.

Cincinnati Public Schools returns to in-person learning on Monday, much to the delight of one local doctor. However, COVID-19 cases within Hamilton county continue to rise.

In the past week, nearly 17,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the county. Currently, the county is dealing with 40,000 active cases. Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman says this is an increase of 8,000 cases in just one week.

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Hamilton County Commission (screenshot from Jan, 19, 2022 COVID-19 Briefing)
Hamilton County is averaging more than 2,000 cases per day.

"I continue to ask the public to use as much caution as possible, wear that mask when you're out and about, social distance, and continue to consider less opportunity for spread by reducing your gatherings a little bit."

The county is averaging more than 2,000 new cases per day. More than 1,000 people are hospitalized in the region due to the virus.

As cases go up among adults, more cases are being seen in children. Cincinnati Children's CEO Dr. Steve Davis says more kids have been in the hospital during the COVID surge.

"If you look back just to the first week in December, we had fewer than 10 children in the hospital," Davis said. "Over the succeeding six weeks, that number has gone up every week and for the last week, we've had over 60 children in the hospital."

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Hamilton County Commission (screenshot from Jan. 19, 2022 COVID-19 Briefing)
Here's a look at Hamilton County's vaccine rates by age group.

In Hamilton County, slightly more than 30% of people aged 19 and under have received a vaccine.

Many schools within the region are preparing for in-person learning to resume. Davis says being in school can alleviate mental health troubles children have had during the pandemic and the timing is right to return.

"I do think that we need to just continue - as boring as it may sound - continue to emphasize the basics," Davis said. "Get every kid 5 and over vaccinated if possible; have everybody wear masks indoors; and then I would say the balance of risk is better for them to be in school than it is for them to not."

Since going remote due to staffing shortages, CPS has hired more substitute teachers in preparation for the in-person return.