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Kansas schools see increasing number of COVID-19 outbreaks

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Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 2:54 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas schools are seeing a growing number of COVID-19 outbreaks, and school-aged children are getting infected more frequently than any other age group.

The state Department of Health and Environment’s latest data, reported Wednesday, showed 63 active COVID-19 clusters in schools across the state, responsible for 408 cases and one hospitalization. That’s up from 31 active clusters accounting for 179 cases last week, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Also, 34 of this week’s reported clusters are new.

“When I compare this time to a year ago, I can tell you that we’re seeing already a tremendous amount of more cases in schools,” said Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson said this week during a meeting on COVID-19 in schools.

The state health department’s data shows that there were 450 new cases per 100,000 children aged 5 through 17 during the week of Sept. 5. The age group with the next-highest rate of new cases was from 35 through 44, at 363 per 100,000.

Children under 12 cannot get vaccinated, and many parents and Kansas school districts have resisted imposing indoor mask mandates.

Federal data showed 49.8% of the state’s 2.9 million residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, compared with 54.1% of the nation’s population.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.