NASHVILLE, Tenn.--9,074 school-aged children in Tennessee have now tested positive for COVID-19 the last 14 days, an increase of 2,370 cases in one week and 8,210 in just over one month.
With schools back in session, the number of 5 to 18-year-old children testing positive the last 14 days has increased by 950% compared to just over one month ago. On July 12, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) reported 864 total cases among the age group, a number which has continued to sharply increase in August.
According to TDH data, as of Sunday, there are 43 pediatric COVID-19 cases in Tennessee, 16 of them in the intensive care unit (ICU) and 8 on ventilators. The 43 children are among 2,200 Tennesseans of all ages in the hospital with COVID-19, 661 in ICUs and 388 Tennesseans on ventilators.
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Given the rise in cases among children, some school districts have decided to re-examine mask mandates, Nashville, Shelby, and Williamson County school boards opting to reverse course and mandate masking among teachers and staff. The decision on masking has been left up to individual school boards by Governor Bill Lee and TDH Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey who previously called it a "hyper-local" decision.
Last week, FOX 17 News contacted TDH for statement on any potential concerns involving community spread among children. Bill Christian, Associate Director for the Office of Communication & Media Relations issued the following statement:
"We encourage parents of children age 12 and above to consult with their provider to get the COVID-19 vaccine and to protect children by wearing masks according to CDC guidelines. We know the vaccine is our best defense tool against the virus and is effective against all variants. The school boards have the authority to make decisions locally regarding mask guidance for students. While we recognize that both the CDC and the AAP have recommended masking in children, it remains a personal choice."
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