ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — As parents prepare for the start of school, almost 2,000 children have tested positive for coronavirus in Orange County since March.
While that is a small percentage of the total number of positive COVID-19 cases, parents are worried that number will spike when children go back to school in a couple weeks.
What You Need To Know
- In Orange County, 1,885 children have tested positive for COVID-19 since March
- Of that total, 1,417 were of school age
- Florida has had 39,735 youths under 18 years old test positive
- Pino: Most children asymptomatic
Linda Mirelman said she had wanted to send her children back to school badly.
Her daughter is supposed to go to Sun Ridge Elementary School in Orange County, but with the coronavirus numbers she has seen lately, the family just doesn’t feel it’s safe.
“When I see those numbers, hear those numbers, I think of my two kids first of all; I think of my Girl Scout troop and the 12 girls in there; I think of the 15 kids who were in my daughter's class last year,” Mirelman said.
For the first time, Dr. Raul Pino, the health officer for the Department of Health in Orange County, reported the number of children under the age of 18 in Orange County who have tested positive for COVID-19 since March — in total, 1,885 kids. Pino said 1,417 of them, were of school age.
The Health department is paying closer attention to these numbers with school scheduled to start in Orange County next week, Pino said.
“We want to set a baseline, so when the schools open and the teachers and the students go back to school, we are able to monitor the pandemic within the school system,” Pino said.
In all of Florida, 39,735 children under 18 years old have tested positive for COVID-19, and seven have died.
“But most children, most children are asymptomatic,” Pino said.
Mirelman said she worries children may bring coronavirus home to their vulnerable relatives.
Her family knows too well just how vulnerable some adults can be. Her husband lost his father last month.
“He tested positive just before the Fourth of July, and then he passed on July 11,…” Mirelman said. “My husband wasn’t able to be with him. He wasn’t able to be by his side, and that really hurt him.”
Although her father-in-law was living in Alabama and didn’t catch it from her children, her parents live in Central Florida.
She said she never wants to put her children in a position where they may jeopardize their grandparents's lives.
“And we couldn’t go through that again this year,” Mirelman said.
Mirelman said she understands that some children really need face-to-face instruction. However, she said she wishes the school districts would wait until the local positivity rate falls to the 5 percent that medical experts have advised should be achieved before reopening schools.