Spring break appears to have sparked a jump in COVID-19 cases among school students and staff, with both the number of new cases and the rate of positive tests rising according to the latest data, county health officials said.

According to the county Department of Public Health, there were 1,842 positive COVID tests among the 529,000 that were administered during the week ending April 22, translating to a test-positivity rate of 0.35 percent. That compares to 844 positive tests out of 450,000 during the week ending April 8, for a test-positivity rate of 0.19 percent.

School-related outbreaks ticked upward slightly to 13 during the week that ended on April 23. That was up from 11 during the week ending April 9.

“As individuals return from spring break and celebrate spring holidays, the highly infectious BA.2 subvariant is contributing to case and outbreak increases across the county,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “Those who have had a recent exposure to an infected individuals should monitor themselves carefully for any signs of illness. If they are asymptomatic, they are not required to quarantine provided they wear a mask when indoors around others for 10 days after their last exposure and they get tested as soon as possible. 

“This is particularly important at work and school sites, where individuals are often in close contact with others for extended periods of time,” she added. “These simple steps reduce unnecessary risk for everyone and can break the chain of transmission.”

County officials said 744 school-based COVID vaccination clinics are planned during May.

The county reported 1,686 new COVID cases on Wednesday, raising the county’s cumulative pandemic total to 2,867,415. Another 10 deaths were also reported, lifting the overall death toll to 31,951.

The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 1.7 percent as of Wednesday.

The number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals remained relatively stable, at 235, up slightly from 232 on Tuesday. Of those patients, 28 were being treated in intensive care, up from 25 a day earlier.

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