Cases of COVID-19 among younger children are rising in North Carolina, according to data from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Just over 1,200 children between the ages of 5-9 tested positive for COVID-19 last week. That's more than double the number from two weeks earlier. 

Wake Forest Baptist Health infectious disease specialist Dr. Christopher Ohl says while more children are getting sick, they still are unlikely to be hospitalized or develop severe symptoms. 

Ohl is urging school districts to adopt strict masking policies to head off potential outbreaks. 

“I really think that those school boards who have said that masks are optional, I feel very strongly right now that they need to reconsider that decision," said Ohl. "Otherwise, you're not going to get through two, three weeks of school. It's just it's not going to be possible."

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools has already announced plans to require masks this year. Governor Roy Cooper is encouraging other districts to do the same, but he has not issued a mandate.

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