Panhandle health officials say our region is seeing a trend of teen COVID-19 cases increasing at a higher rate than many other parts of the state.
According to Panhandle Public Health District statistics as of May 15, out of 79 confirmed cases, the number of those in the 10 to 19 age group has reached 18, two higher than those aged 40 to 49, the next highest group.
Scotts Bluff County Health Director Paulette Schnell says there have been reports of youth congregating in larger groupings, which may be one reason those cases have recently been on the rise. “A lot of them are very healthy. They may have mild cases and may not have that much of the illness to see that they feel sick,” said Schnell, “and so we see them maybe being around friends, being out and going about their business and not knowing they’re positive.”
Schnell says teens are very important to the community, including being a vital part of our workforce, and she’s encouraging all teens and their parents to re-double their efforts to socially-distance, wash their hands and take other steps to reduce the spread of the illness among their peers.