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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Coronavirus cases are rising sharply among children under age four and between the ages of 12 and 17.

Oregon health officials said Friday they are closely monitoring the trends in pediatric cases, which made up more than 20% of the state’s overall known caseload in the most recent full week that ended Jan. 8.

Hospitalizations are also increasing in children, the Oregon Health Authority said.

Overall, state health officials reported 8,672 new confirmed or presumptive cases Friday and 13 new deaths. More than one in five test results reported to the state are now positive for COVID-19, according to the data.

There are 811 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Oregon and 6% of staffed adult intensive care unit beds are available statewide.

Also under new rules, which took effect Friday, state health authorities will no longer require contract tracing for a student in public schools who comes into close contact with an infected student or staff member as long as both are wearing masks — regardless of the distance between them.

The new rule should reduce the pressure on school staff, particularly nurses, who have been overwhelmed with contact tracing during the omicron variant's surge.

“The new recommendations are based on accumulated evidence that layered mitigation efforts in K-12 schools have worked well to minimize transmission and that the vast majority of transmission has occurred following indoor unmasked contact,” the agency said.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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