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Despite decrease in COVID-19 cases, risk for children is high, officials say

Health experts say while case numbers are down, a child's risk of getting COVID-19 in school is at an all time high.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Health experts say while coronavirus case numbers are coming down, a child's risk of getting COVID-19 in school in South Carolina is at an all time high. 

University of South Carolina Epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Alberg, says while COVID case numbers have fallen, the risk of infection in schools, has increased. "The transmission rates in schools is higher than in the community," said  Alberg. "Given the fact you've got individuals indoors, more crowded setting," he added.

Comparing COVID numbers, on August 31st, Richland School District One reported 74 positive students and 14 positive staff. 

On October 5th, the district is reporting 88 students and five teachers as COVID positive, with 743 students in quarantine. 

On August 31st, Lexington One reported having 4,222 students in quarantine, 516 testing positive. 

October 5th, 76 students are COVID positive, with 1,199 in quarantine. 

In Kershaw County  on August 31st, 206 students had COVID and 1,018 were in quarantine. 

On October 5th in Kershaw county there were 90 students and 14 teachers with COVID, with 363 students in quarantine.

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Alberg says the risk of contracting COVID-19 at school is incredibly high.

"In Richland and then Kershaw, you're seeing a much higher transmission rates in the schools than in the community."

Pediatrician, Dr. Michael Finch says the number of COVID adult patients has decreased by 30% since September, "The majority are school-aged kids," he said.

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He went on to say, "Numbers do seem to be falling in the hospitals, and dropping down from 100 to 85% capacity, which is really encouraging."

Finch says while overall case numbers are decreasing children are still contracting COVID at high numbers.