Last week, Deschutes County saw its highest weekly COVID-19 case count of all time.
506 new cases were recorded in the county between April 18 and April 24.
That’s almost 50 cases more than the previous weekly high, which was 454 the week of Nov. 22.
Morgan Emerson with Deschutes County Public Health said it all goes back to a reason we’ve heard before: people gathering without distancing and without masks.
But, one age group has recently started bringing a lot more cases to the table.
“We’re seeing cases from a variety of sources, but one of the areas we’ve seen a significant increase in lately is cases in school-aged children,” Emerson said. “And we’re seeing those tied most frequently to extra-curricular activities where there’s not proper masking and distancing.”
Emerson is clear: school is not the culprit. Rather, it’s everything before and after school that new cases can be traced back to, like sleepovers, carpools, play dates and sporting events where masks weren’t properly worn.
“That’s not something that’s new, but it’s definitely an area where we’ve seen significant case growth,” Emerson said.
Compared to the weekly case rates at the end of March, the case rates for those 19 and under have more than tripled in number.
20 to 29-year-olds still lead the way with new COVID cases in the county.
But something contact tracers aren’t seeing much of? Those so-called “breakthrough” positives.
“The vast majority of cases we’re seeing are in unvaccinated people,” Emerson said. “Less than one percent of the cases we’ve had this year are in people who are fully vaccinated. It’s important to remember it’s two weeks after your second shot that you’re fully vaccinated.”