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St. Louis says it's monitoring increase in youth cases

We took a closer look at the numbers to see exactly what the trends have been over the last several weeks

ST. LOUIS — A national trend of more children testing positive for COVID-19 appears to also be happening in St. Louis.

The city health department said it’s monitoring the situation nationwide, which the CDC has attributed – in part – to the increase in youth sports and extracurricular activities. Acting Health Director Dr. Fredrick Echols said the city has noticed a similar trend locally.

“When previous weeks of the pandemic in the City of St. Louis are compared to the past couple of weeks, we find there has been an increase in cases among younger segments of the population,” Dr. Echols said in a news release Thursday afternoon.

He clarified that city residents ages 20-39 continue to be the “primary driver of cases” in St. Louis, but that the city is tracking an uptick in youth cases.

“For this time period, compared to the entire pandemic the portion of cases for individuals 0-19 years of age has more than doubled from 10% of all cases to 22%,” Echols said.

5 On Your Side dug into the numbers to check recent and overall trends for those 0-19 in the City of St. Louis. Overall, youth in that age group represents 10% of cases overall during the pandemic. The average for the last two weeks is 14.7%, which came out to 54 cases in that youth age group.

Our data suggests the city’s average for youth about a month ago would have been in the high 20-percentile range to hit the 22% Echols referenced.

Overall case numbers have held steady in the city since mid-February, with the seven-day average moving between 20 and 30 cases a day. On Thursday, 37 new COVID-19 cases were reported with the average sitting at 26.

Credit: KSDK

However, Echols and the health department also cautioned that the shift in case trends could be due to a change in the relative proportion of cases – meaning fewer people in older age groups are testing positive because more adults are getting vaccinated.

Still, the city health department urged parents and guardians to continue having children take measures to stay safe, including practicing social distancing and wearing masks where required.