New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Bill de Blasio are joining forces in trying to prevent the spread of omicron cases among students in public schools.
According to reports, there has been a massive increase in COVID-19 cases among students in the past three weeks. And this has caused an alarm not only to parents but also to school officials.
Students exposed to COVID-19 can still return to school
To prevent the further spread of the deadly virus, Hochul and de Blasio are putting three new measures in place that all public schools need to adhere to.
At-home testing kits will be distributed to a classroom where at least one student tests positive for COVID-19. All students can return to school the next day as long as their test results come back negative and they do not show any symptoms.
The same students exposed to a covid-positive classmate need to take two-at-home tests over the course of seven days.
"This guarantees more consistency in their education. It guarantees fewer disruptions. And it works because here's the fact we now know: 98% of close contacts don't turn into positive cases themselves. We have a lot of evidence now that tells us this is going to be the approach that works in the future," de Blasio said via NBC New York.
Omicron affects more children than adults in New York
Hochul also acknowledged that the latest covid wave affects children more than adults compared to other variants. But even if this is the case, she urged locals not to worry too much.
Reports also revealed that New York is one of the first states to impose a vaccine mandate for Department of Education staff. As of Tuesday, 96 percent of all employees have already been fully vaccinated.
Bill de Blasio announces new goal for public schools
Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi showed his support to de Blasio's new goal for schools to stay safe and to stay open by saying that this could help quickly identify the actual cases and ensure that they are isolated.
Chokshi said that only one in 120 close contacts in public school settings developed COVID-19, which is just 0.83 percent.
Even though COVID-19 rates in schools can increase due to omicron, they estimate that 98 percent of close contacts do not develop COVID-19, according to ABC 7 NY.
COVID-19 hospitalizations among children dubbed as alarming
According to the NY Daily News, coronavirus hospitalizations among children are exploding in New York.
Over the last two weeks, the rate of pediatric hospitalizations in the city ballooned by nearly 400 percent. Confirmed COVID-19 cases also jumped from 22 to 109.
While at a press conference earlier this week, Dr. Mary Bassett said that pediatricians should be careful when it comes to diagnosing children with COVID-19.
Bassett also wants to destroy the public's misconception that children cannot get COVID-19 because they can. An alarming rate of children who test positive for COVID-19 in hospitals.
The majority of the positive children for COVID-19 are aged 11 and below because they are unvaccinated.