Montgomery County saw COVID-19 cases spike in children under 12 years old in July with 367 positive tests recorded, over five times the recorded case count for that age group in June, according to data from Montgomery County Public Health.

The current total of cases for children under 12 is the second-highest monthly total in 2021 after January. Since February, monthly totals for childrens’ cases had been decreasing, with June being the first month of 2021 where less than 100 cases had been reported.

In an Aug. 2 news release, public health department officials “strongly encouraged” vaccination to help protect those who cannot receive the vaccine and to protect against new variants. Montgomery County’s vaccination rate sits at 48%.

A public health spokesperson described previous attempts to educate the public on the benefits of the vaccine, but called vaccination a “polarizing topic.”

Meanwhile, the number of active cases in the county rose by over 1,000 since the previous update on July 28 to 3,452.

June 2021 saw Montgomery County hit its lowest total of active cases since the same month in 2020, but cases have been increasing steadily through July.

The percentage of COVID-19 patients that make up the total hospital capacity countywide has risen towards the end of July as well, passing 10% on July 30. As of Aug. 1, COVID-19 patients make up 12.4% of COVID-19 patients.

If the COVID-19 hospitalization percentage reaches 15% and stays above that mark for seven days, the county will be considered in a state of “high hospitalization” and authorities could put stricter COVID-19 mitigation measures into effect, according to Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order GA-34.

County officials said Montgomery County will now provide updates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays instead of its previous once-a-week update due to the spike in cases.