WINNIPEG - As students head back to school, provincial data is revealing how resilient younger Manitobans can be despite the continued spread of COVID-19.
Children and youth ages 0-18 made up 26 per cent of all new cases throughout the last full week of August, and more than 36 per cent of new cases since mid-June. Of the more than 1,500 Manitobans age 0-18 who tested positive for COVID-19, only 17 had to be admitted to hospital, and none of them required intensive care.
Researchers say the reason for the relatively high rate of infection is vaccination eligibility. Manitoba’s Vaccine Task Force says all children in the province who were born in 2009, some of them 11 years of age, are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
During nearly all one-week periods since June 13, new COVID-19 cases among Manitobans 18 and under were among the highest of all age categories. Manitoba medical officer of health and pediatric infectious disease physician Dr. Santina Lee says this isn’t just due to an increase in the rate of infection among younger, unvaccinated Manitobans, but also a decrease in the rate of infection among those whose immune systems have been taught to recognize SARS-CoV-2.
Lee says COVID-19 vaccines have been proving to be game-changers in the pandemic. Meanwhile, Manitoba is requiring the use of masks for all students, as well as vaccination or COVID-19 tests up to three times per week for all provincial workers, including staff at schools.