CCPS, CCHD vaccinate more than 100 with more to come

by Robin Kemp

The latest data from the Georgia Department of Health shows a huge increase in COVID-19 infections among Clayton County’s children and young adults.

Children are suffering

As of Friday, August 20, here are how many preschool and K-12 kids and college-age young adults have COVID-19:

  • 0-4 years: HIGH AND INCREASING. 80 infants and preschoolers have come down with COVID-19 in the past two weeks, a rate of 369 cases per 100,000 people (Clayton County is home to just under 300,000 residents). A total of 698 infants and preschoolers in Clayton County have had COVID-19 as of August 20, 2021.
  • 5-17 years: HIGH AND INCREASING: 388 school-age children have come down with COVID-19 in the past two weeks, a rate of 660 cases per 100,000 people. A total of 3,035 school-age children in Clayton County have had COVID-19 as of August 20, 2021.
  • 18-22 years: HIGH AND INCREASING: 122 college-age young adults have come down with COVID-19 in the past two weeks, a rate of 589 cases per 100,000 people. A total of 2,142 college-age young adults in Clayton County have had COVID-19 as of August 20, 2021.
  • 23+ years: HIGH AND INCREASING: 1,085 adults age 23 and older have come down with COVID-19 in the past two weeks, a rate of 576 cases per 100,000 people. A total of 21,814 adults in Clayton County have had COVID-19 as of August 20, 2021.

State health data also shows COVID-19 is raging among kids and young adults statewide. Over the past two weeks, according to GDPH, the rates for children ages 0-4 and 5-17 and for adults 23 and older are high and represent increases over the previous two-week period. Statewide, people ages 18-22 also saw a high rate but less than a 5% increase in the number of cases.

The rate of spread among school-age children (5-17) is nearly double the post-holiday peak in January:

Similarly, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among school-age children is outpacing the January peak:
Pediatric emergency room visits in the past two weeks also have shot up statewide:
And the number of school clusters (whether at schools or day cares) also has grown exponentially:

Free vaccinations in Clayton County

On Saturday, August 21, Clayton County Public Schools and the Clayton County Health District hosted a mass vaccination drive at Mundy’s Mill High School in Jonesboro. Officials said they had planned on vaccinating 100 people but many people walked up to the event without an appointment. They also were vaccinated.

The next mass vaccination event will be Saturday, August 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at North Clayton Middle School, College Park. You can help CCPS and CCHD plan ahead by registering in advance at https://gta-vras.powerappsportqals.us/en-US/.

What else are schools doing?

On August 18, CCPS Superintendent Dr. Morcease Beasley outlined measures the school system has taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 on campses.

“We began our school year, of course, mandating masks daily, using our thermometers (for) daily temperature checks, desk shields for elementary students–more on the way–and as of yesterday, I would say, possibly today, almost 5,900 students have chosen to learn virtually,” Beasley said in a video message to CCPS families. About 51,200 students are enrolled, Beasley said.

“Remember, we mandated masks because it’s our effort to ensure that we have a very safe environment. Masks are mandated for all students and employees in buildings and on school buses.” He held up a mask.

“See? I have my mask as well. I’m not using it right now because I’m talking to you all. But as we interact with staff and others, we are wearing our mask. It’s mandated. We encourage all of us to be responsible as we do our part–do our part–to eradicate this virus.”

Beasley also said that football stadiums would operate at 50% capacity, with masks and social distancing required.

The next day, Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order banning enforcement of local or county COVID-19 mandates at sports stadiums. Instead, school sports venues “may operate solely pursuant to the rules or guidelines that have been promulgated or approved by the respective professional league or applicable conference or association of the sport.”

Georgia High School Association President Dr. Robin Hines issued a statement August 11 saying that GHSA had no changes for how schools would conduct sporting events. Those recommendations handed off decision-making to CCPS and the Clayton County Health District, yet set the stage for packed stadiums for playoff games while leaving the door open to possible changes:

  • The GHSA request local school/systems use appropriate protocols as outlined by their local DPH.
  • The GHSA will respect local school/systems COVID guidance during regular season contest/activities.
  • The GHSA staff will require all GHSA events (GHSA playoffs) be free of attendance restrictions during all GHSA playoff events.
  • Sport-specific Considerations and Rule Modifications will be evaluated and adjusted as needed by each sport administrator. Our goal continues to be to provide sports and activities for our students with safety being the top priority.
  • The SMAC will continue to meet on a regular basis to consider changes in COVID data.

On Saturday at his annual 5K Run/Walk to benefit CASA and the Classie Mae Turner Scholarship Fund for Kinship Care college-bound students, Clayton County Chairman Jeff Turner begged the crowd to get vaccinated if they had not already done so.

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