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COVID-19 cases expected to rise in Central Texas schools

Posted at 6:10 PM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 19:10:44-04

With many school districts in Central Texas on to their third week of school now, the number of COVID-19 cases in schools is expected to rise.

That's because right now puts them in that 10-14 day range where you can expect a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Now that schools have been in session for a little while, the spread of the delta variant in schools is going to become more noticeable.

A trend that doctors at the McLane Children's in Temple are already starting to see.

"An uptick in COVID exposures and COVID positives and even now, within our own hospital," said Dr. Dominic Lucia, chief medical officer at McLane Children's Medical Center. "Our rise in cases needing hospitalization is certainly there and apparent.”

In fact, the number of minors currently hospitalized with COVID-19 at the Temple hospital nearly doubled since the school year began.

"We are at 22 percent of our hospital beds," said Dr. Lucia. "I think the last time I talked to you, we talked about the rise to 10 to 15 percent.”

Nearly all school districts are posting case numbers to a dashboard and that includes Temple ISD who has only started school last week.

But they are only showing lab-confirmed cases and not the numbers for people who have positive rapid tests or other probable cases.

"In addition to that, the first week we had probable cases," said Dr. Bobby Ott, Superintendent of Temple ISD. "Probable or rapid tests because they aren’t lab-confirmed. We had three student probable cases and eight staff cases.”

Just like other school districts, Temple ISD is worried about the spread of the Delta Variant and that is why they say they put up the dashboard on Monday.

”[We] put them up publicly so they're transparent," said Dr. Ott. "Our family members and staff and everybody to have a chance to see those. But, that’s the reason we do it.”

Temple and other school districts are doing what they can to be safe and as transparent as possible, and doctors say it’s important to be transparent, especially right now.

”We’re in that window where if something is going to be spread in school early on you're going to see it, and we’re definitely seeing it with COVID,” said Dr. Lucia.

Medical professionals are expecting a spike in COVID cases at schools over the next few weeks with teens being at a higher risk of hospitalization than younger kids.

Especially teens who are unvaccinated.