Updated data on COVID-19 cases among San Francisco children and in schools

Data shows COVID-19 cases among San Francisco children is low and schools remain safe settings. SFDPH is monitoring COVID-19 cases among children and in schools and is providing critical public health resources to SF communities.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) is closely monitoring COVID-19 cases among children and in schools and is providing critical public health resources to San Francisco communities. These include free vaccinations for all eligible individuals; testing services; critical guidance and support to schools on COVID safety measures; and case investigations and contact tracing at schools. To date, our data demonstrate that cases among San Francisco residents under age 18 have remained low and stable throughout the pandemic and that schools are low-risk settings when the proper safety protocols are followed.

SFDPH data on schools and children will updated on a weekly basis to provide information and context to the COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco as it relates to the impact on children. Future weekly updates will be made public on the City’s COVID-19 data dashboards page.

Data Highlights for San Francisco on COVID-19 in Children

(data through October 8, last updated October 13, 2021)  

  • Pediatric cases in children are a small percentage of total cases in San Francisco.  COVID-19 cases in children under 18 has remained on average less than 20% of overall cases throughout this pandemic, including the most recent surge due to the Delta variant. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases have been in adults.   

Number of COVID-19 Cases by Age Groups by week (Sat-Fri), January 2, 2021 – October 8, 2021, San Francisco. The proportion of COVID-19 cases are differentiated by age groups, 0 to 11 years old, 12 to 17 years old, and 18-plus to show trends based on vaccine eligibility.
  • The percentage of pediatric cases has been relatively consistent over time. The most recent data (September 11October 8) shows that 13.3% of COVID-19 positive cases were among children under 18. Recent historical 2021 data is as follows: 

    • September: 13.0% 

    • August: 12.9% 

    • July: 10.8% 

    • June: 12.8% 

    • May: 17.0% 

Proportion of COVID19 Cases by Age Groups, by week (Sat-Fri), January 2, 2021 – October 8, 2021, San Francisco. The proportion of COVID-19 cases are differentiated by age groups, 0 to 11 years old, 12 to 17 years old, and 18-plus to show trends based on vaccine eligibility.
  • Serious forms of COVID among children are extremely rare in San Francisco. The majority of San Francisco children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, including most recent cases from the Delta variant. Hospitalization of San Francisco children due to COVID-19 continues to be so low (fewer than 5 at any given time) that the exact count cannot be publicly reported without concern for privacy and confidentiality. Since March 2020, there have been a total of 16 pediatric hospitalizations among San Francisco residents at San Francisco hospitals. There are currently fewer than 5 San Francisco children who are hospitalized for COVID-19. 

  • Vaccinations are our best defense to protect children. An estimated 90% of children ages 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated. We highly encourage all eligible members for the household (12+ years old) to get vaccinated to protect children who are not yet eligible for the vaccine. Many pediatric COVID-19 cases in San Francisco were from an unvaccinated adult in the household getting COVID-19 and transmitting it to their family members, including children.  

Data Highlights on San Francisco Schools

Schools are safe places for our children to learn, socialize and play when the appropriate safety measures are taken. When community background rates of COVID-19 are high, we expect to see cases in most settings, including among children and individuals at schools. SFDPH’s guidelines for schools are designed to stop the spread of COVID between people at school while minimizing disruptions to the school community. When the proper safety measures are in place, schools are a low-risk environment for children and youth. More information on school guidelines for COVID-19 can be found here.

Case Data

  • SFUSD reported 393 cases to SFDPH out of nearly 52,000 students and nearly 10,000 staff (as of October 8).  

  • Among the City’s private, parochial and charter school sites there were 138 cases out of nearly 22,500 students and nearly 5,000 staff (as of October 8). 

  • The vast majority of these infections are occurring outside of schools.  

In-School Transmissions and Outbreaks

  • There were 24 suspected in-school transmissions at San Francisco schools. All other cases reported at schools were related to community transmission outside of school (as of October 8).  

  • 7 COVID-19 outbreaks have been verified as having occurred at San Francisco schools (as of October 8).  A maximum of 6 cases or less of students and staff were involved in each outbreak. All cases were either mild to moderate illness and none of these required hospitalization. An outbreak is defined as three or more cases in non-related households in which the source of infection occurred at the school, and not another setting.   

  • No outbreaks were verified as having occurred at San Francisco camps and learning hubs during the summer of 2021.  

  • During the 2020-2021 school year, there were seven cases of COVID transmission in all schools in San Francisco with in-person learning, including the height of the winter surge.All other cases reported at schools were related to community transmission outside of school.  

Last updated October 14, 2021