Most kids caught COVID-19 from family during first wave, study shows

Twenty-three children who contracted COVID-19 during the first wave in Quebec had to be treated in intensive-care units.

MONTREAL, QUE.: October 28, 2020 -- A security guard guides a woman to the entrance of the Covid-19 testing clinic at Hotel-Dieu Hospital in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 28, 2020. (Allen McInnis / MONTREAL GAZETTE) ORG XMIT: 65

Only 14 cases were traced back to a child’s school or daycare, and another 14 cases were traced back to a teenager’s place of work. Twenty children are believed to have contracted the virus at a hospital or a building where health care is provided.

Nearly 9 per cent of the children who had to be hospitalized were babies up to the age of 12 months.

Out of the total number of children who contracted the virus, 50.6 per cent were girls and 49.4 per cent were boys. Girls were more likely to require hospitalization than boys and the study also found that 247 of the children who contracted the virus had a preexisting condition.

Children who contracted the virus near the end of the first wave, or after mid-June, were more likely to contract it through an outbreak. The study detected a sudden increase in the number of recorded cases after June 21.

Eighty-eight, or 2 per cent, of the children who tested positive for COVID-19 in Quebec during the first wave of the pandemic had to be hospitalized, including 23 who required treatment in intensive-care units.

The numbers are among many to come out of a study published by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec, which examined how the first wave of the pandemic — between Feb. 23 and July 11 — affected people under the age of 18 in the province.

According to the study, 3,493 out of all the COVID-19 cases recorded in the province were youngsters under the age of 18. The figure represented only 6 per cent of the cases recorded in Quebec during the period. None of the children who tested positive died and only 2 per cent had to be hospitalized. The study did not determine what caused the 2 per cent to be hospitalized.

One goal of the study was to break down how children contracted the virus. It determined that: “For the 2,636 children where the infection could be related to another documented case, it was a family member 92 per cent of the time.”

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