DENVER — While the state’s overall case rates of COVID-19 have stabilized somewhat over the last month, Colorado is seeing a jump in cases among middle school and high school aged children, State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said Tuesday.
Dr. Herlihy said the state is also seeing an upward trend in cases among children 3-10 years old, but cases among children 11-17 years old has shot up dramatically. Herlihy did not offer an explanation as to why those age groups are seeing an increase in cases.
Dr. Herlihy was joined by Gov. Jared Polis during a COVID-19 press briefing Tuesday. Polis said he does not anticipate a change in schooling for the remainder of the year despite a spike in cases.
The governor stressed schools are relatively safe and said the spread of the virus among school-age children could be related to a number of factors.
“A small number [of cases among children] might be related to schools, but what is also happening is as parents are protected, as grandparents are protected, they’re taking their unprotected 11-year-olds and 15-year-olds out with them to restaurants to hang out with others,” Polis said.
Vaccines for children 16 and up are available. Children’s Hospital Colorado has become a vaccine provider to encourage that particular age group to get vaccinated. Polis said he is hopeful that vaccines will be approved for children 12-15 by fall.
In just the first two weeks of April, more than 40,000 16 to 18-year-olds received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the total to more than 50,000 teens in Colorado.