New Covid-19 data from the state Department of Public Health is showing a spike in cases in public and private schools across the state.
In just the past week there were 386 cases among pre-K through 12 students.
It’s 97 for staff. Both are up more than 50% from the previous week.
“I think we have to recognize that we are starting school with a lot more virus around than we did last year, and so I think, and certainly when we started school last year we, you know, saw cases right away. So I don't think it should be surprising that we are seeing you know more cases in these settings," Dr. Lynn Sosa, DPH deputy state epidemiologist said.
DPH officials said they are worried about a surge of cases forcing schools to go virtual, like an elementary school in Hebron has already had to do. It believes the most effective ways to keep kids in schools is to vaccinate eligible students and staff and to require masks.
State officials also pointed out concerns about several recent outbreaks.
DPH said there were 17 cases including 14 residents and three staff at an unidentified group home. None of the affected staff was vaccinated while all but two of the residents were. Five ended up in the hospital.
The other outbreaks were at a summer camp and a party.
“So you're going to a party, you know everybody. But you might not know the vaccine status of everybody. And you really need to you know to know that that's a possibility that you know you basically wherever you're at right now, because there is so much virus everywhere, there is a possibility of being exposed to COVID-19, so that's why we really need to keep our guard up," Sosa said.
Officials said there were some common threads in the outbreaks. Unvaccinated people were more likely to become infected than those who got the vaccine.
Mask use was not always consistent. And the virus can spread at indoor events when people are close to unvaccinated people who are not masked.
The state's Covid-19 test positivity rate came in at 2.93% Thursday, down from the day before. There are currently 354 people hospitalized with the virus, a net decrease of 10 from the day before, and state officials say 74% of those patients are not fully vaccinated. The death toll stands at 8,416.