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New COVID cases among Baltimore children on the rise

Dr. Letitia Dzirasa giving a COVID-19 update Tuesday. Credit: Screenshot/Charm TV
Dr. Letitia Dzirasa giving a COVID-19 update Tuesday. Credit: Screenshot/Charm TV

Baltimore is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases among children -- a trend that health commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa called “particularly concerning.”

Children under 10 are experiencing the highest rates of new COVID cases of all age groups in Baltimore. Dzirasa said this is a first during the pandemic.

She also said the weekly incidence rates for children ages six to 10 have peaked. This month, 40% of new cases were among residents under 18.

“Again, one of the most effective ways to prevent COVID-19 transmission during the holidays remains being fully vaccinated,” she said Tuesday.

Just under 12% of children ages 5-11 have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

The city’s overall transmission rates are also on the rise. Baltimore’s transmission rates went up from substantial to high last week, according to the CDC. Dzirasa said over the past two weeks, the city has seen a 58% increase in new cases.

Due to the increase, Baltimore is not lifting its indoor mask mandate.

Mayor Brandon Scott warned that if residents aren’t careful this Thanksgiving, the city could see a spike in COVID-19 cases over the holidays again.

“We're getting close to the end of the fight. But we can't afford to stop now,” he said.

Scott also mentioned Tuesday an incentive program is in the works for city employees to get vaccinated. He said he could not yet offer further details on the program.

Sarah Y. Kim is WYPR’s health and housing reporter. Kim is WYPR's Report for America corps member, and Anthony Brandon Fellow. Kim joined WYPR as a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. Now in her second year as an RFA corps member, Kim is based in Baltimore City.