Sep. 25—The state's decision this school year to release weekly data on COVID-19 in those 18 and younger shows Luzerne County saw a sharp increase in new cases from last week.
From Sept. 8 through Sept. 14, the county reported 170 new cases in that age group. Sept. 15 through Sept. 21, the total was 221. That's a 30% increase week over week.
The state breaks down the data in two age groups, 0-4 and 5-18. Both weeks showed the increase in cases entirely among in the older children. In fact the number of new cases in the 0-4 group declined, from 32 last week t0 27 this week. By comparison, the new cases for the older group increased from 170 to 221.
The state began releasing the age-defined data shortly after the Department of Health issued a controversial mandate for full masking in all schools at all grade levels regardless of vaccination status.
While the state refers to the younger and older age groups respectively as "capturing preschool and daycare age children" and "capturing kindergarten through high school age children," it stresses the exposures to the virus are not necessarily school related.
"Exposures may have occurred in a variety of settings including the community, household/family, or the school setting. The case counts presented are total case counts in these age groups and are not necessarily cases exposed in school, preschool or day care settings. The location of exposure cannot be determined for the vast majority of cases."