COVID test positivity rate among Suffolk school-aged children was 67% higher than the county’s overall rate in the first month of school


The COVID-19 test positivity rate among Suffolk school-aged children was much higher than the test positivity rate in the general population in the first month of school, according to an analysis of the data released by the State Department of Health.

Since the start of the school year, 2,818 Suffolk children aged 5 to 17 have tested positive for COVID-19 – a test positivity rate of 7.2% from 39,170 tests since September 1. That’s over 67% higher than the average 4.3% positivity rate in Suffolk since September 1. The county recorded 14,652 positive cases out of 352,361 tests reported from September 1 to October 1.

The New York State Department of Health reports daily laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in children aged 5 to 17, broken down by school district of residence. As of September 1, the majority of Suffolk’s 69 public school districts had test positivity rates for children ages 5 to 17 above the county rate for all test scores, the data showed.

>>> See 1 Sep-Oct. 1 data for all school districts in Suffolk

Many school districts – including Riverhead – had percentage positive test rates higher than the county rate by a wide margin. For example, there have been 51 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in children ages 5 to 17 residing in the Riverhead Central School District between September 1 and October 1. The 51 positive tests out of 767 reported tests represent a positive test rate of 6.7%.

School-aged children residing in most other East End school districts had lower test positivity rates than the county rate from September 1 to October 1.

But children residing in many school districts in the five towns in western Suffolk County have tested positive at a significantly higher rate than the general population during the same period.

Residents aged five to 17 of the Islip School District had a test positivity rate of 14.9% – the highest in the county – with 74 positive tests out of 497 state-reported tests. (Editor’s note: Children residing in the New Suffolk Common School District had two in 10 positive tests reported, resulting in a 20% test positivity rate in the small district of East End, where all the pupils have only 10 children.)

The second highest in Suffolk were school-aged children residing in William Floyd’s School District, where there was a test positivity rate of 13.2% – 228 positives out of 1,731 tests administered.

Children residing in the Shoreham-Wading River district (which straddles the towns of Brookhaven and Riverhead) had an 11.8% test positivity rate over the past month.

Children who live in three other school districts also had test positivity rates above 10%: West Islip, 10.8%; Hauppauge, 10.5%; and Miller Place, 10.4%.

Test positivity rates of 5-9.9% have been reported for children ages 5-17 living in 35 other school districts, including the East End districts of Hampton Bays (9%), Remsenburg- Speonk (9%) and Southold (6.8%).

Positive laboratory-confirmed results do not necessarily reflect confirmed cases in children enrolled in the school district for which the data is being reported. Figures, based on residence, include children attending schools outside the district, including private, parochial, and charter schools, as well as children not enrolled in a K-12 school.

School districts are required to report their own test results to the state health department, which in turn reports them to the public separately from laboratory-confirmed positive results of 5 to 17 year olds residing within the district boundaries. The school district’s test report requirement went into effect on September 13. Since that date, the Riverhead Central School District has reported 36 positive test results among students, faculty and staff in the district. District COVID case data available here.

More than 28,000 children aged 5 to 17 in New York City have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the school year, according to state data.

The Long Island area is second behind New York City in the number of confirmed cases in children since September 1, with 4,927 positive tests in children aged 5 to 17, according to the data. The five boroughs of New York City had a total of 7,703 positives in this age group.

>> See the numbers of cases and deaths linked to COVID-19

According to the CDC, 55% of teens ages 12 to 17 in New York City are fully immunized. Adolescent vaccination data by county has not been published. Children under 12 are not yet eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. There are over 205,000 children under the age of 12 in Suffolk.

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