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caption: Estella gets her first Covid-19 vaccine at a Seattle Children's clinic for children under five on June 21, 2022.
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Estella gets her first Covid-19 vaccine at a Seattle Children's clinic for children under five on June 21, 2022.
Credit: Photo by Kate Walters / KUOW

Washington health officials urge families to keep kids safe from Covid this summer


Public health officials in Washington state are reminding parents to keep their children safe from Covid-19 as they hang out with their friends over the summer. Covid levels are still high in several communities across Washington state.

Reported Covid cases appear to be decreasing among kids and teens in Washington, according to the latest state report. However, most cases in the community go unreported these days, with a high prevalence of home testing making it hard to determine short-term trends.

In the last couple of weeks of June, kids three and under had the highest case rates in the state, according to the report. And hospitalizations for children and teens are increasing.

People who have previously been infected with Covid, and have recovered, seem to have less protection against the newest variants of the coronavirus. Currently, the BA.5 variant of omicron is the most common in the United States and is driving up case counts throughout the country. With the latest variants, people are becoming sick with Covid multiple times. And there is evidence that suggests the more times a person is infected, the more likely they will suffer from long Covid.

Public health officials recommend all kids stay up to date with vaccines. Covid vaccines are available for everyone six months and older.

Among other things, they also recommend taking gatherings outside when possible, wearing a mask in crowded indoor settings, and testing to help reduce risk.

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