Children all over Western New York head back to class next week with the Covid numbers more than twice as high as this time last year, something of concern to parents.

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Experts note the difference this year is the Delta variant which is notably twice as contagious as COVID was originally and even with increasing vaccination numbers here in Western New York is pushing up positivity rates.

The positivity numbers for Erie County, as of Saturday stand at 3.6%. Chautauqua County is 9.2%, which by the way is the highest rate of any county in all of New York State.

There are currently 109 Covid patients in Erie County hospitals. 32 are in the intensive care units.

Adding stress to parents this year is the reported rise in RSV. With symptoms similar to a cold or the flu it usually affects kids in winter months, and while almost nonexistent last winter because of distancing and masks, it’s made a comeback this summer.

Experts again are stressing hand washing, masks, social distancing along with keeping kids home if they exhibit any cold or flu symptoms.

What about vaccinations for kids? The FDA in May permitted the use of the Pfizer Covid vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15.

According to the White House as of last week, only 30% of 12-17-year-olds were fully vaccinated, leaving U.S. doctors worried that the delta variant could spread in classrooms nationwide when school resumes next week.

 

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

Here are some tips for self-care during the pandemic:

KEEP READING: See 25 natural ways to boost your immune system