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COVID-19 clusters increase among middle and high school sports teams, NC health officials report

Between July 1 and Sept. 2 there have been at least 42 athletics-related clusters in North Carolina public, charter and private middle and high schools.

RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is seeing a sharp increase in COVID-19 clusters among school sports teams.

NCDHHS said for the period between July 1 and Sept. 2, 2021, clusters among school sports teams accounted for 45% of all clusters in North Carolina middle and high schools.

RELATED: NC K-12 schools seeing most cluster-related COVID-19 cases of the pandemic to date

There is increasing urgency for everyone ages 12 and older to get vaccinated as soon as possible. For the week ending Sept. 4, children age 17 and under made up 31% of the state’s new COVID-19 cases. That is the highest percentage since the pandemic began, NCDHHS reports.

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"We need everyone, including our student-athletes and their coaches, to increase layers of prevention to fight this more contagious Delta variant: Don’t wait to vaccinate and urge others to do the same," NCDHHS Chief Medical Officer and State Health Director Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, said. "Tested, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are the best tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Student-athletes who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine after close contact with someone with COVID-19."

RELATED: How to protect kids under 12 from COVID-19

NCDHHS said between July 1 and Sept. 2 there have been at least 42 athletics-related clusters in North Carolina public, charter and private middle and high schools, with a sharp increase in August coinciding with the start of the school year.

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