Despite Baldwin County athletes being sidelined this week, state health officials say Covid-19 cases are not spiking among youth in Alabama.
The state has recorded 118,220 total cases of Covid-19 this year, 4,458 in Baldwin County as of Wednesday, Sept. 2.
Only 7.11 percent of cases statewide were in patients ages 5 – 17. Less than 2 percent of coronavirus patients were infants to 4-years-old. There is not a age breakdown available for Baldwin County patients.
“Our demographics in regards to children have not really changed over the course of the year,” said Dr. Karen Landers, Assistant State Health Officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health.
She said clearly there are cases in schools, and the department is investigating several school outbreaks but overall there has been no significant uptick in pediatric patients.
In Baldwin County, the daily positive case number jumped 17 days after school began. On Aug. 28 cases spiked to 77 patients and to 92 patients on the next day. The disease has a roughly 14-day incubation period before those who have been exposed test positive.
Each night every Baldwin County school principal emails parents a transparency report that details the number of Covid-19 related absences that day.
Since school began on Aug. 12, the system has reported 558 absences across all its properties. Those schools are home to more than 24,000 students and 3,000 employees. The highest number of absences was 59, reported on Aug. 24, just 12 days after school began. Another 6,000 students attend the county's virtual school.
The number includes employees and children who tested positive, showed symptoms or were home due to quarantine. In many instances those individuals never entered their school.
Landers said despite the uptick the state doesn’t believe it is due to the first day of school.
“Although there have been and will be cases of Covid in our school systems, I don’t think we’ve had an outbreak caused by school starting,” she said.
The decision to sideline athletes this week is made within the school system, not at the state level, Lander said.
“The schools will make their own decisions about how to manage in terms of whether or not at some point to close down schools,
local decision of school board and school administration will have to say
“Our educators have done an excellent job and worked very hard to try to do the very best for our students,” Landers said. “We are all in unchartered water and they are all trying to look at the best we have at the moment to keep students safe.”