TAMPA, Fla. — The Hillsborough Emergency Policy Group met Thursday to review its ongoing response to the spread of COVID-19 and how it's impacting children.
Dr. John Curran, with the University of South Florida College of Medicine, shared multiple graphs and research on the topic.
Over the past few weeks, he said COVID-19 cases have not grown in the age group of 0 - 4 year old. Cases have remained at a steady 2 percent. For kids 5 - 19 years old, cases have grown a little from about 9 to 10 percent. And for young adults 20 - 24 years old, cases have seen a decrease from 17 to 9 percent.
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Curran shared another graph showing COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in young adults due to Florida starting its Phase one of reopening prematurely. When Florida launched into phase one, the state did not even meet White House recommendations for reopening. The graph showed COVID-19 cases also rose among younger students as well, although not as steeply as young adults cases did.
"What hits you right in the face when you see this graph is that all the lines, representing different age groups, are together until the beginning of June. You'll remember that's when Florida started to reopen. Look at the growth in cases, it is not flat and it is not back to where we used to be in school aged children that live here," Curran said.
Commissioner Murman asked how schools would test all students if a coronavirus break out happened and asked if our testing centers could handle that influx. The Hillsborough County School District has more than 200,000 students.
While Curran's research showed cases rising due to reopening the state and showed what levels have been among young kids over the past few weeks, he couldn't answer the main question everyone wants to know: is it safe for kids to return back to school physically?
On Thursday, the emergency policy group also announced it will dramatically increase the number of COVID-19 tests they can do by extending hours at current testing facilities during the week and weekend.
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