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caption: Penny Brown, 2, is held by her mother, Heather Brown, as her nose is lightly swabbed during a test for COVID-19 at a new walk-up testing site at Chief Sealth High School, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Seattle. The child's daycare facility requires testing for the virus. The coronavirus testing site is the fourth now open by the city and is free.
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Penny Brown, 2, is held by her mother, Heather Brown, as her nose is lightly swabbed during a test for COVID-19 at a new walk-up testing site at Chief Sealth High School, Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Seattle. The child's daycare facility requires testing for the virus. The coronavirus testing site is the fourth now open by the city and is free.
Credit: (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Many Seattle-area kids with Covid are old enough to be vaccinated

About half of the Covid patients at Seattle Children’s during this latest surge have been kids who could have been vaccinated, but weren’t.

That’s according to Dr. Danielle Zerr, the hospital’s infectious disease chief.

“It's so important to prioritize getting vaccinated as soon as one is able,” she said.

“If children in your home are too young to be vaccinated, if we can vaccinate everybody around them, and observe strategies like mask wearing, we will go a very long distance toward keeping the kids safe,” she said.

The Food and Drug Administration could authorize the Pfizer vaccine for children as young as five by the end of October.

The number of Covid patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital is down from its peak at the beginning of September.

Dr. Zerr says that although Covid admissions are down at Seattle Children's, most of the hospital’s beds are still full. That’s because many kids are coming to the hospital with other respiratory diseases, and for mental health emergencies.

Meanwhile, in Seattle’s public schools, 184 students have tested positive for the coronavirus since the school year started on Sept. 1. That’s less than half a percent (0.4%) of the district’s 51,500 students.

The district doesn’t break those cases down by the age or vaccination status of the student in question but does provide a total count of how many cases each school has seen.

The school with the most cases so far is Garfield High School. There, 13 students have tested positive for the coronavirus. That’s followed by Chief Sealth International High School, with eight cases.

About two-thirds of the schools that have had at least one case (44 of 74 schools) have had only one or two cases.