Public Health: Schools are creating as safe of an environment as possible

Fifth-grader Adam Poswal, left, and his sister Rania, 5, walk to their mother after the first day of school at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School on Thursday, 081221. Dan Watson/The Signal

Parents should feel reassured sending their children to school as in-person schooling returns, according to Barabara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, during a press conference Thursday afternoon.  

“Children are still much less likely, especially younger children, than adults to end up getting infected,” she said. “They have some of the lowest hospitalization rates, which means even when they’re getting infected, they’re still much less likely to end up with serious illness.” 

The COVID-19 case rate for unvaccinated children is four-and-a-half times greater than the case rate for vaccinated children. 

“The difference in hospitalization rates for vaccinated and unvaccinated children is even more dramatic,” Ferrer said, noting that hospitalizations for children are less than one for every 100,000. “Nevertheless, this is much higher than the virtually nonexistent hospitalizations, among vaccinated children.” 

Among unvaccinated teens ages of 12 to 17, the case rate is 457 per 100,000 people, which is seven times greater than the rate for vaccinated children of the same age range. 
“Clearly vaccines are working to prevent cases and hospitalizations, among our teens,” Ferrer said, noting no hospitalizations for vaccinated teens. 

Children under 12 years old remain ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Despite that, Ferrer said “layering in a lot of protections in our schools” helps reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for young children. 

“What we’re hearing is that there are relatively high rates of vaccination amongst staff and teachers at school,” she said. “Wherever you have that extra protection that’s coming from vaccinations you’ve added a layer we never had before.”  

Ferrer also noted protections from masking requirements, distancing and infection control. 

“I feel really confident that with the layered approach we’ve got, schools are opening with a lot of safety right now,” she said. 

Public Health officials also released the following updated COVID-19 statistics Thursday: 

Countywide COVID-19 cases reported in the past 24 hours: 3,865 

Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 1,339,138 

New deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the past 24 hours: 23 

Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 24,854 

Hospitalizations countywide: 1,648, of which 22% are in the ICU 

Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of Aug. 12: 39, with 1,348 discharged since the onset of the pandemic. 

COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 137, 108 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita 

Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 31,350 

Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV as of Aug. 11: 311 

Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the city of Santa Clarita as of Aug. 6: 72.3%* 

Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the SCV as of Aug. 6: 68.9%* 

*Percentages now include vaccination rates for people between the ages of 12 and 15 

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