COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — According to state health officials, the 11-20 age group accounted for 7,713 COVID-19 cases in South Carolina last week.

Their data shows during the week of June 12th-19th that same age group made up 173 of the cases reported state wide.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental (DHEC) Medical Consultant Dr. Jonathan Knoche said the 11-20 age group has recorded the highest number of new cases in the state since August 21st. Dr. Knoche said the 0-10 age group is the second highest.

According to Dr. Knoche, the 0-10 age group also saw the highest percentage increase in that span. Students returning to school settings without being required to wear face coverings contributed to this increase Knoche said.

“What we’re seeing across the state right now…is a highly transmissible delta variant and children congregating in school settings with some wearing masks and a large proportion not wearing masks. It is a perfect storm for higher cases in children,” Knoche said.

The South Carolina Children’s Hospital Collaborative – a group of children’s hospitals in South Carolina – say there are 12 children in their ICU’s with COVID-19 as of September 1st. Five of those children are currently on a ventilator to breathe.

According to Dr. Knoche, DHEC is reporting 15 pediatric deaths due to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

You can watch DHEC’s weekly update below: