9/2/2021 - Knox County closed out August with its highest number of positive cases of COVID-19 in eight months. According to Knox Public Health, 880 positive cases were reported in August, 10 times more than were reported in June and July combined
The surge in positive cases also includes a huge increase for those age 18 and under. KPH recorded 125 positive cases for youth age 18 and under, the largest monthly total for that age group since the pandemic began last spring. Comparatively, there were only 13 positive cases among youth collectively this past June and July. In August 2020, there were only three positive cases among youth. The last time the numbers for youth were this high was in November and December 2020 when more than 100 cases were recorded in each month.
The increase among youth is particularly concerning with students returning to classrooms in August. High school and middle school students account for 73 percent of increase in youth cases with 16 percent of the cases are among elementary students. Children under age five account for 11 percent, including three cases under age one.
“The increase in positive cases among students not only affects the individuals but also classmates and family members who may have to quarantine because of being a close contact,” said KPH Deputy Health Commissioner Zach Green. “That keeps more students out of school and miss group activities like sports. Plus, parents may be unable to go to work.”
KPH has been working with local schools to implement multiple prevention strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including masking, social distancing, good ventilation and good hygiene practices, plus vaccination of school personnel. In some schools where outbreaks have occurred, students and staff are being asked to wear a mask.
“We know the importance of having students in school, in-person, five days a week,” said Green. “But we also want to keep them safe. Knox Public Health will issue isolation orders to anyone who has tested positive. For those who are identified as a close contact to a confirmed case, we will order quarantine if they are not vaccinated or were not wearing a mask when in contact with the positive case.”
Since last spring, there have been 593 individuals in Knox County, age 18 and under, who have tested positive for COVID-19; there have been seven hospitalizations and no deaths.
COVID-19 vaccine remains plentiful in Knox County and is available at Knox Public Health as well as several pharmacies and doctor’s offices. Three different brands of vaccine are available for adults age 18 and older. The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for children ages 12 -17. It takes five weeks to be fully vaccinated.
To make an appointment at Knox Public Health to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or be tested for COVID-19, call 740-399-8008. Other locations for testing and vaccine are listed on the KPH website at knoxhealth.com.
Knox Public Health is located at 11660 Upper Gilchrist Rd., Mount Vernon and is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The agency will be closed on Monday, Sept. 6 in observance of Labor Day.