Over the past week, Loudoun County health officials have noticed an increase in the number of positive tests for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 among residents in the age groups of 10 to 19 years and 20 to 29 years.
“We are taking a closer look at these cases to determine what may be causing the increase in COVID-19 among our younger population,” said Loudoun County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend. “I suspect that many teens and young adults are increasingly participating in activities that involve larger gatherings of people, such as beach week and other celebrations, which has increased their exposure to others outside their families.”
More than half of those who tested positive in Loudoun were people 29 years old or younger. Over the past week alone, 150 people between the ages of 16 and 18 years old tested positive for COVID-19, which represents 58 percent of all people in this age group since the pandemic began.
“While younger people may feel invincible, it is critical that all of us take the necessary precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 because the virus is still circulating in our community, particularly staying home and away from others when sick and wearing face coverings while in public,” Goodfriend added.
The risk of exposure to the virus increases in large gatherings. Without proper precautions, events such as senior week festivities, beach trips, house parties and upcoming Fourth of July celebrations pose a danger, not only to the young people in attendance, but also to the people in the community they might unknowingly infect with the virus, including vulnerable older adults.
Parents, young adults and teens are encouraged to remain vigilant in taking the following precautions:
- Avoid large gatherings of people and sharing living spaces with people outside your immediate household.
- Practice social distancing: stay 6 feet apart from others whenever possible.
- Wear a face covering over the nose and mouth while in public, particularly indoors.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds; use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available.
- Stay home when sick, except when seeking medical care.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, including in your home.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces frequently.
- Cover coughs and sneezes when not wearing a face covering.
Health officials urge anyone who has been in a large gathering and develops symptoms of COVID-19 to see a doctor and to notify others who were with them so they can take precautions as well.
“No matter how old or young, we all play a role in slowing the spread of coronavirus in our community,” said Goodfriend. “Even healthy teenagers and young adults need to follow these steps. While younger people may recover from COVID-19, they may unknowingly spread the virus to more vulnerable members of our community who are at risk of serious illness.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer this advice to teens and young adults on dealing with the pandemic and these recommendations for parents of teens to help their children cope.
Loudoun County encourages residents to stay informed about COVID-19.
- Visit loudoun.gov/coronavirus for more information about how to protect yourself and your family and to sign up for email and text updates on COVID-19.
- Opt in to receive text messages:
- English: Text LCCOVID19 to 888777
- Spanish: Text LCCOVIDESP to 88877
Residents with questions about COVID-19 may call the Loudoun County Health Department’s information line, 703-737-8300, or send an email.
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